What I Watched Last Night: Saint Patrick’s Day Special – Grabbers (2012)

Director: Jon Wright
Cast: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Lalor Roddy

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Sit yourself down and craic open a nice pint-can of Guinness, because this film is for the stout of heart only. Alcohol puns out the way, Grabbers is a fun -if slightly flawed- horror-com in the same vein as Shaun of the Dead (though Shaun’s veins never contained anywhere near .3 blood alcohol level) and it makes for perfect St Patrick’s day viewing.

Grabbers opens one stormy night on the bay of Erin, a small fishing community off the West coast of Ireland. Within seconds, a lobster fishing crew is dispatched with startling efficiency by some aliens – the big, slimy, tentacle kind – but not before they’ve let off a warning signal to the local authorities. Enter Garda O ‘Shea (Richard Coyle), a charming alcoholic policeman with no respect or interest for the flock of floozies and drunkards that make up Erin’s population. Along with Garda Nolan (Ruth Bradley), a teetotal city-copper that’s married to the job (she’s like Nick Angel’s (from Hot Fuzz) twin sister), he bums around the town trying to save it from otherworldly annihilation. Through some wry contrivances, they deduce that the Unidentified Feckin’ Objects that have besieged their home are allergic to alcohol. All they have to do now is convince the locals to get totally shit-faced… in Erin, it’s easier done than said.Image

Grabbers approaches the alien invasion archetypes with a nail-in-a-board mentality, and while there are plenty of big laughs – 90% of which are courtesy of the perpetually plastered Paddy, played by Lalor Roddy – the non-stop nods to the sci-fi hall of fame are of detriment to the film; Alien, Gremlins, Tremors, Dawn of the Dead, Invasion of the Body Snatchers – even Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla gets directly referenced in several shots. Unlike Tarantino or Edgar Wright films which wink at the respective director’s favourite movies without being overly-derivative, Grabbers doesn’t quite grasp the technique and ends up losing some momentum.

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Grabbers is also just a tad too long but, being St Patrick’s Day and all, it’s actually the ideal choice if you feel the urge to stick something on after you stumble home. It’s very Irish, there’s lots of drinking and the number of evil slimy things that get stomped on would put even ol’ St Pat to shame.

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