Monday, November 25, 2013

Horror Film Review

Grabbers (2012):  Irish creature feature that's more humor than horror, more satire than splatter, more....well, you get the idea.  It's like the bastard child of The Host and Tremors that was conceived after a night of too much Guinness.

Policewoman Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) is filling a two-week substitute position on a small island off the coast of Ireland.  Her new partner is the unimpressed and alcoholic Ciaran O'Shea (Richard Coyle).  After a meteor crashes into the sea nearby and fisherman start going missing, their investigation leads them to the beach where they find volleyball-sized eggs and then the mother who laid them.  They run.  Because momma's the size of a bulldozer and nothing but tentacles and teeth. 

Assisted by local scientist Dr. Smith (Russell Tovey) and local drunk Paddy (Lalor Roddy), Nolan and O'Shea figure out that the critters drink blood but if the blood is at least 0.2% alcohol, they die.  So the cops herd the townsfolk into the pub promising free booze.  They don't need to ask twice.  Things fall apart quickly when big momma and her offspring show up.  A very drunk and therefore overconfident Dr. Smith confronts the creature.  It doesn't end well.  The quite tipsy Nolan accidentally starts the bar on fire.  In the end, O'Shea and Nolan lead the monster away from town to a quarry where they make their final stand armed only with a bottle of Paddy's homemade moonshine and a flare gun.  And, ironically enough, a bulldozer.

Only the Irish would make a movie where the best protection against alien attack is to drink heavily.  Pure genius.  Not so genius, though, was the utter lack of guns.  It's unrealistic to think cops, no matter how small the town, wouldn't have a firearm somewhere.  Even more unrealistic that folks in a rural area wouldn't at least have a shotgun or two.  And then there's the call for help.  O'Shea makes two calls actually, one to his absent boss who blows him off and the other to the coast guard who says they can't come because a storm is blowing in.  I realize the plot needs it to be this way, but come on. 

The Skinny

Acting:  Russell Tovey (Being Human, Doctor Who) is good as the goofy Dr. Smith.   Coyle and Bradley are all right but the intended chemistry between the two never gels.  Roddy as Paddy is a hoot and a holler.
Story:  Simplicity itself.  The plot holes can be forgiven.
Direction:  It does lag in places but the important third act is a pleasant thrill ride.
Production Values:  Despite the relatively small four million euro budget, this film has the feel of a Hollywood flick.  I'm pretty sure most of the money went into the special effects. 
Gore/FX:  Not much blood, but there are a few severed heads rolling around.  The creatures are CGI and extremely well done.  Could've knocked me over with a feather...or a tentacle. 
Scares:  A slight jump or two. 
Ending:  A cliché.  A slow, ominous zoom in on a cluster of the creature's unhatched eggs.  I may have yawned.
Verdict:  Should you see Grabbers?  If you like horror flick send ups with surprisingly decent special effects, then this one's for you. 

Rating:  3 out of 5

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