Grabbers is one of the most persistently entertaining and thrilling films of this year: a throwback to the B-movies of the 50s, it’s a smart film that uses Irish locations and humour to create a unique spin on the genre.
When an island off the coast of Ireland finds itself invaded by aliens, the small community can only rely on their alcoholic Garda (a terrific Richard Coyle), rookie Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley on top form) and love-rival scientist Dr Adam Smith (Russell Tovey doing his usual routine) to save them from being obliterated.
Enjoyment of Grabbers relies as much on the audience’s ability to have fun as anything else: this is not a serious , lofty film but a fun science-fiction ride with some terrific set pieces and some of the best CGI delivered from these shores. Considering the budget of the film, the special effects really shine: they are almost as good as in the pinnacle of the genre, the Korean monster masterpiece The Host.
The structure of the film plays out like any number of B-movies from the past: Tremors, Deep Rising even Attack the Block. However. it’s the local flavour that adds a unique twist to the proceedings: not only as provided by our heroes but also by the members of the small village on the island who all create some memorable and very funny characters that riff on recognisable stereotypes. True, it’s not exquisitely in-depth characterisation, but when the end result is so charming and well put together, that it’s impossible to complain.
Grabbers might not be anything new –most of the film feels like it was put together by taking the best examples of the genre. However, along with Cockneys vs Zombies, it is a refreshing genre film, something that we need more of in UK cinemas. And if that sounds like damning with faint praise, be assured it isn’t. Grabbers will delight not only the fans of the genre but also anyone who wants to spend 94 minutes in the company of some charming and bumbling characters fighting a greater evil the only way they know how – through sheer determination and liberal doses of Guinness.