You either go down the serious route with monsters movies or take a more tongue-in-cheek approach. Grabbers is definitely in the latter camp and what a hoot it is, an uproarious blend of Jaws, Alien, Tremors and Father Ted that serves up generous helpings of both shocks and laughs.
The film starts on a fishing trawler off the Irish coast whose occupants are dragged into the depths by an unseen tentacled beast that seems to have just crash-landed from outer space. When a school of pilot whales with terrible wounds are washed up on the beach of a small island, alcoholic policeman Ciaran O’Shea (Richard Coyle) and his straight-laced sidekick Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley), who’s just been seconded to the small fishing village from Dublin, start investigating.
With the help of English marine scientist Smith (Russell Tovey) and local fisherman Paddy (Lalor Roddy), they find out that the island is the new home of a huge, squid like creature that preys on humans, feeding on their blood to survive. But they also find out that the beast won’t feed on anyone who’s drunk because their blood is poisonous to it.
Realising staying drunk is the only way to stay alive, Ciaran and co face prepare for a siege in the village pub as the beast comes looking for its supper on a stormy night. Grabbers is great fun, setting out its stall from the beginning as a creature feature that’s as big on jokes as scares.
There are plenty of sly nods to other movies in Grabbers which film fans will enjoy, particularly a climactic scene which channels Aliens. Coyle and Bradley make for an attractive duo who take their comedy seriously enough to make us root for them. A sharp script from Kevin Lehane, stylish direction from Jon Wright and a mixture of beautiful scenery and great special effects make Grabbers a very funny and enjoyable movie that’s probably best enjoyed with a beer or two… just in case.