Friday, June 6, 2014

It Came From The Video Store: Grabbers

Grabbers is a 2012 Irish sci-fi/horror film that was directed by Jon Wright and written by Kevin Lehane.

If you see only one Irish-made monster movie this year, this is the one to see. I highly recommend it.

I know what you're thinking-- that DVD cover makes it look like some dreadful Syfy Channel reject. I thought the same thing when I saw it on the video store racks, but it's surprisingly well-written and acted. It's also quite funny and filled with many colorful characters, and gives us Yanks a peek into Irish culture. It's very similar in tone to Tremors, but with more pubs and ale and alien squids instead of sand worms.

The Plot:
Eager young policeman (known as Garda in Ireland) Lisa Nolan (played by Ruth Bradley) is transferred to remote Irish island, much to the chagrin of her alcoholic superior Ciaran O'Shea (played by Richard Coyle).

The two investigate a herd of mutilated whale corpses that wash ashore, and realize some... things are attacking the remote island village. A violent storm hits the island, preventing any hope of escape or rescue. The town then has to fend for itself against the hungry alien attackers.

• The special effects in Grabbers were surprisingly sophisticated. Apparently America and New Zealand aren't the only countries that can produce good CGI.

• There's absolutely no reason this film couldn't have been shown in U.S. theaters-- it's easily as good or better than many Hollywood films I've seen in the past year. I'm betting the lack of recognizable stars is what kept it out of our cineplexes. Studio executives all believe that audiences will shun a movie if doesn't have big stars in it (which I believe is a bunch of bull). That's why we get so many foreign film remakes here. Expect to see an Americanized version of Grabbers any day now.

• Russell Tovey plays Dr. Adam Smith in the film. Tovey guest starred in Voyage Of The Damned, the 2007 Doctor Who Christmas Special. Back then series producer Russell T. Davies suggested that Tovey would be a worthy candidate to play the Doctor when David Tennant left the show. Frankly I just didn't see it. I thought Tovey was way too bland to play a quirky character such as the Doctor. 

But after seeing him in Grabbers, I get it. He can definitely do the whole quirky and funny thing, and there were a few scenes in which he acted very Doctor-y. I could definitely see him manning the TARDIS someday.

Grabbers is a criminally underrated scifi/horror/comedy with big budget effects and a lot of charm from its two main leads. I give it a B+.

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