Friday, October 22, 2021

GRABBERS (2012) Movie Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 19
Total First Time Views: 12
Amount raised for ALBANY PARK THEATER PROJECT: $1,515.25

Grabbers (2012) d. Jon Wright (Ireland/UK) (94 min) (2nd viewing)

On the small community of Erin Island, hard-drinking small-town cop Ciaran O’Shea (Richard Coyle) is teamed with perky, by-the-book Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) when his superior goes on holiday. This strained odd-couple dynamic only gathers steam after a school of massacred pilot whales wash ashore and a few locals go missing... incidents seemingly connected with a recent meteorite splash offshore.

Finally, an intelligent, well-executed CGI creature feature that earns worthy comparisons to Tremors, ably folding romantic comedy into the monster mix without descending into campiness or bargain basement SyFy f/x. Director Wright and screenwriter Kevin Lehane so effectively realize their remote Irish island community, filled with colorful characters leveling witty, lived-in barbs at one another, that viewers are thoroughly invested by the time the tentacled terrors from below show up, imbuing the fanciful premise with genuine emotional stakes. (The prospective human snacks’ counter-tactics also provide hilariously sly and inspired winks at the inebriated Irish archetype.)

Both Coyle and Bradley deliver what should have been star-making turns here, and though both have stayed busy on British television, the festival fave (which I first discovered at Fantasia 2012) never reached a wide audience; as a result neither they nor the film have entered the public consciousness, which is a darn shame. (Bradley has recently turned up as recurring character Ms. Bowen on the Apple TV smash Ted Lasso, so hope springs eternal.)

The rest of the cast is populated with delightful character actors, standouts being Lalor Roddy as the local aged inebriate who first captures (and names) one of the smaller creatures, Russell Tovey (Being Human’s likable lycanthrope George) as the island’s resident marine biologist, and David Pearse and Bronagh Gallagher as the proprietors of the popular (only) pub.

Creature designer Paul Catlin, who has probably reached the highest level of visibility of anyone associated with the production, having logged time on numerous Hollywood franchises including five Harry Potters and a half-dozen Marvel movies, serves up a memorably fearsome beastie, a writhing, ambulating tangled mass radiating from a toothy maw (although in hatchling state, they’re actually quite cute, evidenced in a pub scene that evokes Gremlins in tone and hijinks).

Highly recommended and well worth tracking down.

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