Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner Reportedly Blocked Jon Hamm From Starring In David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner Reportedly Blocked Jon Hamm From Starring In David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Why Is It Suddenly Not OK To Have Been Gripped By 'The Jinx'? Why Is It Suddenly Not OK To Have Been Gripped By 'The Jinx'? New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Karlovy Vary Film Fest Review: 'Tremors' Meets 'The Guard' In Fun But Familiar Horror-Com 'Grabbers'

The Playlist By Jessica Kiang | The Playlist July 5, 2012 at 6:04PM

Perfect fodder for a late-night festival audience (especially one prone, as the Czechs are, to spontaneously bursting into generous applause at certain satisfying story beats) UK/Irish co-production "Grabbers," directed by Jon Wright, played to a raucously positive reception last night at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. And it's a fun ride, and while it doesn't reinvent the "Tremors" and "Slither" modern-b-movie wheel, it adds a few neat touches to that formula. It's a shame it ultimately favours repetition over originality, though, as, to anyone with even a passing knowledge of those films, proceedings run on very predictable lines, leaving the more inspired elements of the story frustratingly underdeveloped.
0
Grabbers
Perfect fodder for a late-night festival audience (especially one prone, as the Czechs are, to spontaneously bursting into generous applause at certain satisfying story beats) UK/Irish co-production "Grabbers," directed by Jon Wright, played to a raucously positive reception last night at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. And it's a fun ride, and while it doesn't reinvent the "Tremors" and "Slither" modern-b-movie wheel, it adds a few neat touches to that formula. It's a shame it ultimately favours repetition over originality, for as anyone with even a passing knowledge of those films knows, proceedings run on very predictable lines, leaving the more inspired elements of the story frustratingly underdeveloped.
 
Set, like the brilliant but underseen "The Guard," in the west of Ireland, and similarly featuring Irish policemen and women (Gardai) as the protagonists, "Grabbers" takes place on a small isolated island off the coast, on which the small town boasts a single pub, a population of sailors, fishermen, and drunkards, and two Gardai. When the senior of the two takes a two-week holiday, the younger (Richard Coyle), himself a perma-drunk alco with little but scorn for his job, is partnered with peppy, ambitious, up-from-Dublin and by-the-book Lisa (Ruth Bradley). At which precise point, of course, a giant squidlike alien that sports grabby tentacles for tongues (hello again "Tremors") and spawns multiple sluglike offspring ("Slither," you dog!) starts picking people off, so the mismatched pair are forced to work together to... are you getting as bored reading this as we are writing it? Ok, that's a little unfair, as the plot details do not adequately convey the level of charm the actors, especially our destined-for-each-other lead duo, bring to rather hackneyed roles. And we haven't really even got to the big sell yet, the twist of Irishness that obviously made it into the film's pitch logline and is in itself so inspired that you can see greenlights igniting a mile away: the creature thrives in water, and drinks blood to live, but is discovered to have a violently toxic reaction to alcohol. So the obvious solution, when a storm threatens, no help is available, and no evacuation possible, is to get everyone on the island, in local parlance: pissed, locked, gee-eyed, bollixed, hammered. In a word: drunk.
 
Grabbers
Honestly this premise is so ripe with potential that we just can't believe no one's done it before: a pub's worth of rowdy intoxicated locals battling alien beasties with nothing but their prodigious capacity for booze standing between them and annihilation? We're there! But the film falls a bit short in really letting that concept fly as high as it should, or last as long as it should: the plotting gets in the way of the lunacy, such a pity. Far be it from us to encourage less professionalism in anyone's approach to filmmaking, but for our money, a little less deferential attention could have been paid to the he-has-to-go-there-to-get-that mechanics of the narrative, in favour of a little more time with the assorted batshit poitin-fueled locals taking on an otherworldly menace armed with flamethrowers made out of Super Soakers. Even the ultimate takedown is orchestrated by the two leads, as opposed to the whole community, and in general the film feels like it misses as many opportunities as it takes.
 
There are occasional laugh-out-loud moments, for sure, and the winningness of the leads makes the inevitable climactic clinch actually rather affecting, but "Grabbers" could have been so much more than the derivative me-too it turns out to be. Thankfully, the films it derives from are themselves a pretty good time at the movies, so while it might not linger with you very long after you leave the theatre, while you're there at least, it's a likable way to spend 94 minutes, if not quite a blast. [B]

This article is related to: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Review, Grabbers


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates