Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Watch: First Trailer For ‘Effie Gray’ Starring Dakota Fanning, Emma Thompson, Tom Sturridge & Greg Wise Watch: First Trailer For ‘Effie Gray’ Starring Dakota Fanning, Emma Thompson, Tom Sturridge & Greg Wise Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More Watch: First Trailer For Rom-Com 'Playing It Cool' With Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Aubrey Plaza & More Watch: First Trailer For Rom-Com 'Playing It Cool' With Chris Evans, Michelle Monaghan, Aubrey Plaza & More Watch: First Trailer For ‘Serena’ Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper Watch: First Trailer For ‘Serena’ Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes 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

Review: 'Tremors' Meets 'The Guard' In Horror-Comedy 'Grabbers'

The Playlist By Jessica Kiang | The Playlist July 18, 2013 at 7:02PM

Perfect fodder for a late-night audience, UK/Irish co-production "Grabbers," directed by Jon Wright, is 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.
1
Grabbers
Perfect fodder for a late-night audience, UK/Irish co-production "Grabbers," directed by Jon Wright, is 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.
 
Grabbers

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 gotten 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 is a reprint of our 2012 Karlovy Vary Film Festival review.

This article is related to: Grabbers, Reviews, Review


The Playlist

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


E-Mail Updates