grabbers

When a trawler crew witness a meteor splash down in the sea off the coast of Ireland, they naturally go to investigate and are never heard from again. Meanwhile, on nearby Erin Island, alcoholic Garda officer Ciarán O’Shea (Richard Coyle) is reluctantly welcoming his new partner, bright-eyed, eager and by the book Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley). When a local finds an odd creature washed up on the shore and takes it to a local marine biologist (Russell Tovey), scientific curiosity gives way to horror as they realise their island is in terrible danger. The creature needs water to live but with an approaching storm cutting them off from the mainland and any help they need to think of something before the creatures use the rain to swarm the island. Luckily, it turns out the grabbers have one particular vulnerability…

This good-natured horror comedy plays out like an alternative version of “Attack The Block”; instead of urban London, think rural Ireland and while it lacks the bite of its metropolitan predecessor, it makes up for it with the comic conceit of monsters who feast on human blood, but are allergic to alcohol. Want to stay safe? Get wasted! Usually these stories boil down to a group of plucky individuals battling against the odds but here, much of the adventure and a great deal of humour is distilled from the gimmick that our heroes need to get and keep everyone drunk to keep them safe.

Richard Coyle is a quirky and appealing lead, further enhancing his credibility as a potential future “Doctor Who” and there’s something quite “Who”-ish about the island under siege from an unknown alien invader in the whole set-up. Bradley and Tovey provide the companion-esque characters, with Tovey’s character also providing something of a romantic rival for Garda Nolan’s affections.

The Irish setting is used to its full potential with the cinematography showcasing the spectacular scenery and giving the film a grander scale than its village-set shenanigans might otherwise have had. The creature effects are well done and there’s enough gore and gruesome kills to satisfy creature feature fans but it’s far from being a gratuitous gore fest. While the story hits all the required beats of a monster movie, including a colourful cast of sceptical locals, and the pub lock-in set finale is exciting and well executed.

A solid, well-crafted monster movie, it has enough original ideas and clever touches to make it stand out from the crowd and if you watch it post-pub after a few drinks of your own, the chances are you’ll have a lot of fun with it.

Score 6

6/10  

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