If you ever go across the sea to Ireland...you may just get your blood drained by a giant tentacled monster from outer space. Unless you’re pissed that is, as alcohol is toxic to it. That’s the premise for this Irish love letter to the great giant monster movies of yesteryear.
Richard Coyle is the Alcoholic Policeman with a Past who has to welcome pretty temporary police officer Ruth Bradley onto a remote island off the coast of Ireland when she arrives to cover his regular colleague’s two weeks of leave. He’s not happy about it and pretty soon he’s even less happy when marine ecologist Russell Tovey starts chatting her up over the body of one of the mutilated whales that have been washed up on the beach overnight. Everyone is baffled by the discovery but that’s because they haven't seen the weird thing from outer space that crash landed in the sea at the beginning of the film. Nor have they seen the horrible fate of the fishermen who happened to be nearby in a prologue scene that wouldn’t be out of place in an old 1970s episode of DR WHO like Terror of the Zygons or Horror of Fang Rock.
It soon becomes apparent that the island is under attack from a great big tentacled gloopy monster that has laid eggs all along the beach. These eggs hatch out, giving rise to a whole load of tiny baby gloopy monsters that are just as hungry for human blood as their parent. The only thing that can deter them is if your blood alcohol levels are punishingly high, which is the excuse for everyone on the island to indulge in a lock-in in the island’s only pub as a storm rages outside and the creatures gather to attack.
Reminding me of everything from Terence Fisher’s 1966 Planet Production ISLAND OF TERROR to Ron Underwood’s TREMORS and the Dr Who I've mentioned above, GRABBERS is an old-fashioned monster movie that’s loads of fun. It’s been described as FATHER TED vs ALIENS and that’s probably the best way to approach it. There’s very little in the film that’s original (the idea of getting pissed to avoid being attacked popped up in William Fruet’s INVASION OF THE BODY SUCKERS aka BLUE MONKEY back in the late 1980s) but there’s a simple pleasure to be had in this movie which apparently has done extremely well in its homeland. The FrightFest screening I attended was apparently the only chance I would get to see GRABBERS ‘in this form’. I can only guess what that means, although admittedly some of the Irish accents at their most drunken might need a bit of dubbing for overseas markets. Other than that it’s a gleeful monster romp with likeable characters, an engaging setting and it deserves to do well.