Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: Grabbers

I have watch many horror movies in my short time in this world. They've ranged from slashers and torture porn to ghost flicks, gorefests, and zombie blowouts. There are also the rather interesting ones that exist on the edges of horror other genres, where they're bits of both. But this movie, it's a triple threat as it is a horror/sci-fi/comedy. Even better, it's from Ireland, a place I rarely see horror come out of. It's probably less to do with them making it and more to do with me simply not noticing that they are. I may very well find myself actively seeking these films out in the future.

There may be a wee bit of drinking involved.
But, Ireland aside, this is very much a monster movie that just happens to take place on an island off the coast of Ireland proper. That's great too, because seclusion definitely helps make a horror film work better. There's a reason why it's an often used trope. Our tale opens as we see some hapless fisherman going out on the water as they are looking for what they believed to be a signal flare for someone needing help. Turns out that it wasn't that but rather something crashing down, possibly from space, into the ocean. It makes rather short work of them and the story begins.

The night's for getting pissed, not floating about like a gaggle of jackasses.

Anyway, we have our intrepid heroes introduced as young Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) arrives off a boat to the island to fill in for one of the Garda officers while he's away. She gets picked up by our other hero, Ciarán O'Shea (Richard Coyle), who is quite obviously nursing a massive hangover. Hell, when we first see him he is literally hugging a bottle. Take it from a former hard drinker, it's never a good sign when you start hugging what you're drinking. Ciarán isn't too happy with Lisa. It could be her being too friendly, her being a woman, or just her being someone that he's simply not used to, but it's fairly clear he'd rather go back to cuddling with his whiskey.

At least it doesn't complain about his morning breath.
Things take an interesting turn though as there are a number of pilot whale corpses on the beach that have various lacerations all over them. The local marine ecologist, Dr. Smith (Russel Tovey), is examining the corpses and taking time out from trying to trick Will Robinson into doing things for him. Wait, am I getting Dr. Smiths mixed? Which one is it that lives on an island and which one is it that's lost in space with a family that barely tolerates him? Ah well, let's just move on. Either way he's bit of a flirty prat.

Oh, the pain...the pain...
Some other fishermen manage to catch something decidedly not a lobster in their lobster cage and one of them, Paddy (Lalor Roddy), decides to take the tentacled squirty bugger home with him. We get some interaction where it seems obvious that Ciarán actually does like the new girl quite a bit and Paddy tells him of his lovely squiddy monster, but Ciarán mostly ignores him because he's the town drunk which makes him prone to rambling about nonsense. Ciarán tries coming onto Lisa as best he can, which means he show up to her door drunk off his ass, and he eventually passes out. We're then treated to a local couple who get an unexpected visitor in the night. The husband also just so happens to be Paddy's buddy from the boat earlier. They assume it's a just a drunk friend, but it's actually a dead friend hanging from the end of a tentacle. The husband gets quickly snapped up by a tentacle and the wife gets her while trying desperately to shut the chimney flue, getting yanked up to her demise.

Hindsight is a right bitch, ain't she? Now, let's drink!
Paddy goes home to find his beastie has gotten loose as it attacks him and the next morning our heroes find what's left of the husband in the chimney. It turns out Paddy didn't receive the same fate though, as the creature let go of him and went into a kind of comatose state. Dr. Smith examines the thing and notices it reacts to water, which means it likely needs to state hydrated to survive. Smith also discovered it was apparently a female as there was a large egg inside of it. Paddy leads them down to the beach where they find a cave they figure the male creature may be hiding, as the female needed someone to help make that egg, and Paddy manages to find even more eggs outside while they're in the cave.


Not the sort of eggs you want to make into an omelet.

Now, I have an admission to make. I wasn't really sure if I should do this one for Kaijuly or not. The cover art did show quite a large monster, but as I was watching I was worried that that was simply artistic license. But let me tell you, I was wrong, because when the male creature rolled up out of that cave pool I knew this was giant monster territory. Yes, Ciarán and Lisa find the male and he is huge. Just a giant huge wriggling mass of nasty black tentacle with a big horrid mouth waiting in the center the gnaw on all your bits. H.P. Lovecraft would have field day with this thing. So, yeah, they run like hell, as one would be expected to do in such a situation. They grab Paddy and decide it's time for a game plan. They return to Smith and try to destroying the female, but thanks to his sprinkler system reacting badly to the fire they start, she wakes up and decides to suck face with Ciarán. Who can blame her? He's so handsome! They pry it off of him and proceed to attempt beating it to death, which is more comical than it sounds, I assure you.

As my dear old mom used to say, "I need a towel, a drink, and a hug."
They figure out that the reason it let go of Paddy and went all comatose was due to him being more pickled than a Vlasic factory. Alcohol must be their weakness, so they connect with their most trusted associates and figure that they need to get everyone in one place and keep them all shitfaced. So, a lock-in at the bar seems the most logical choice, yes? But Lisa has never had a drink before and Ciarán has designated himself the one to stay sober and keep the peace. Thus they load Lisa up until she's at near-Paddy levels of drunkenness, polishing her off with a shot of his personal brew he keeps stashed in his jacket. I don't know what he puts in that stuff, but it packs a serious wallop. Anyway, they go to church to announce to everyone that drinks are free and to bring everyone there, so the whole town ends up at the bar. Ciarán and Lisa are out in the truck watching for the male creature as Lisa decides now is a great time to admit that she has feelings for our handsome Irish rogue. I wonder what could possibly happen now?

The acid just kicked in!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!
Their poor buddy Jim not only gets attacked by baby grabbers (that's the name Paddy gave these things) but then the daddy comes along and proves that being drunk isn't quite enough to not be eaten. Poor Jim. He was a simple doctor who just really needed to piss. Next time just piss in the corner, Jim, seriously. Everything starts going wrong from here. Their truck gets smashed, the people inside find out about the creatures and panic as they're rushed upstairs, and Smith goes outside to take a photo with the male only to get swatted all the way to Glasgow. But hey, at least he got a few pictures, right? Lisa accidentally sets fire to the bar, which is kinda good as it kills the babies, and gets the bartender's truck as she and Ciarán lead the male to a construction site where they face off with it. Ciarán gets hurt, but Lisa shows up to save him with a bulldozer as she pins the creature down in the bottom of the site. It manages to grab him again, but this time he's armed with Paddy's special brew, which he dumps into its mouth. It drops him and Lisa fires a flare gun straight down at the oil barrels next to it as it goes up in a massive fireball. The two start walking back to town as he tosses his flask and they finally kiss. We're then brought back to the beach where some more eggs are shown prior to the credits, meaning that it's not really over.

Here's to sequels!
This film was incredibly funny. Every actor was enjoyable and very amusing, the writing was great, the characters were interesting if a bit cliche at times, and the monsters were so much fun to look at. You'd think that a tentacle monster might not be that interesting visually, but let me tell you that you'd be wrong. I don't have anything bad too say about this film. Not a nitpick one. Just go watch it. It's on Netflix right now, so if you're subscriber do yourself a favour and make that a priority. You won't regret it. Until next we meet, I'll be here drinking my root beer and wishing it were something harder. Later days, Bleeders.

And please drink responsibly.

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