Grabbers Review

Film Still
  • Grabbers film still


A tentacled scourge lays gloopy siege on a quaint Irish village in Jon Wright's superfun (if entirely disposable) creature feature.

"You really are Irish," says marine ecologist Dr Adam Smith (Russell Tovey) to Garda Ciarán O’Shea, after the local policeman, under the influence of alcohol, has once again acted without forethought.

Yet Smith’s national stereotyping is slyly ironised by the fact that O’Shea is played by Richard Coyle, himself an Englishman, and often, thanks to his standout role in the TV comedy Coupling, mistaken for a Welshman.

If Smith sounds a tad defensive, he’s not the only outsider on the fictional Island of Erin. Uptight Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) has just come over from Dublin for a two week posting, there’s an impudent Eastern European builder whose unspellable name immunises him against ever getting cautioned by the police, and even O’Shea is, in the opinion of gossipy pub landlady Una (Bronagh Gallagher), just there on "a bit of a sabbatical" while he drinks his way through the loss of his wife.

If all this sounds like a gentle Irish comedy, having an amiable laugh at the inevitably eccentric locals as much as at the many visitors, and all set in a locale reminiscent of Father Ted’s Craggy Island, then that is exactly what Jon Wright’s Grabbers offers. It is the kind of cosily clichéd view of the Republic, all grassy coastlines and friendly craic, that goes down as easy as a pint of Guinness with those viewers who long nostalgically for the Old Country.

Only there is another alien recently arrived on the island, that will (maybe) disrupt this winsome idyll – a rapidly breeding, ravenous (and, most horrifying of all, teetotal!) thing from outer space that has come to do a bit of its own weekend fishing.

It is, or rather they are, spectacularly realised, its/their squiddy oddness both terrifying and kinda cute, which makes Grabbers an Irish tentacular Tremors – an icky creature feature with the emphasis on comedy and character, ending (not unlike Shaun Of The Dead) in a riotous pub booze-up, with human romance amidst all the extra-terrestrial reproduction.

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