I am a little bit ashamed of myself. Before screening this movie, I pulled out my full set of razor-sharp Ginzu critic's knives and prepared to filet this movie. C'mon, it's called 'Grabbers'. You know it's going to be crap with that title coupled with garish cover art that gives away the tentacular beastie without waiting for the in-movie reveal. It even opens with a falling meteor, y'know, the one that always brings the alien what-you-call-it. How many times have we seen movies open with that scene? That's quickly followed by the beast seizing luckless fishermen in the Irish Sea. Why is it always commercial fishermen? Don't they have it tough enough? This movie should have been complete junk. Like the two main characters, however, I slowly, reluctantly, fell in love.
Here's what you won't get. You won't get A-listers in this film. My tween son walked in near the beginning and recognized one actor, a bloke who does have a main role in "Being Human". Not the SyFy Channel version, which is excellent and beloved in my household by the way, but the original UK version of which the American/Canadian SyFy version is an upgrade. But that's about as recognizable as any of the actors gets. You won't get planet-ending catastrophe or kaiju knocking over buildings. You won't get a soaring body count. You don't get implausibly beautiful actors or teenagers in peril. By the final credits the boob count stood at zero. What you do get is a remarkably flowing tale with - sheathing my Ginzu knives now - charming and understated performances from the talent at hand. You get one reasonably sized beast and a handful of face-gnawing baby beasts. This creature does retail - as opposed to wholesale - mayhem. And in this context that works out just right.
Set on an island a ferry ride or helicopter hop from Ireland, our protagonists are believably cut off from greater aid by a storm. You know this isn't 'Murica because not one person on the island has a gun (does a flare gun count?). Not even our two main characters, members of the Irish national police known as 'Garda', are armed. But, this being Ireland after all, our heroes and the villagers do have one irresistible power: booze! That's right, the locals figure out that the beast, a blood drinker, finds alcohol lethally toxic. In Irish fashion, they must protect themselves by throwing a 'pisser' for the whole town in, where else, the local pub.
Many monster movies take themselves too seriously. Others go straight for farce. This movie strikes that delicate balance mixing the mugs of monster goo with that occasional chaser of humor. Finally warming to this movie about one-third the way through, I hit 'pause', and poured meself 3 fingers of amber-colored 12-year old single malt (2 rocks ice no more) and settled in again to cheer on my new heroes. I also turned on captions because I found myself frequently unable to reliably follow the Irish accents particularly when they were all blowing, for safety's sake, 0.2 on the policeman's breathalyzer.
Now I normally find the romantic side-stories in a monster flick to be thinly developed. Plagued by a proliferation of side-plots, too many characters, and aggressive use of the available digital monster budget, love rarely blooms in any credible way in most creature features, and I find them in nearly all cases a shallow distraction. This movie is not so plagued, and the relationship is allowed to develop naturally, organically, through the entire movie. In fact, I would have to say, this flick flirts dangerously close to being a romance with monster thrown in. Maybe it was the single malt talking, but at the end of this one, I raised my empty glass and actually called out, "Kiss her!"
4 skulls. Single malt recommended early. They're drinking. Why shouldn't you? Raise a glass and join the pisser.