“Tis no feckin’ lobster.” No, but it’s an Avatar-blue practical effects and CG sea monster which has locals on edge in Grabbers.
Lisa Nolan is a “garda” taking a break from the hustle and bustle of Dublin crime-fighting to take a sub role on “Erin Island,” a pastoral fictional backwater where everyone gets lacquered at the isle’s sole pub (Maher’s).
Chief among these, Nolan’s new partner, Ciarán, a perpetually whisky-drunk lawman with little in the way of laws to enforce (unless you count, self-arrest for DUI and of course he turns a blind blood-shot eye to that). That is, until blue blood-sucking tentacled creatures invade, picking off locals and bungeeing them airborne, shooting them like elastic bands over thatched cottage roofs.
Richard Coyle (A Good Year) and Ruth Bradley (In Her Skin) are effortless as the cop buddies and reluctant acquaintances, who, along with resident egg-head Dr Smith, have to make sense of dead whales washed up on the beach and other mysterious incidents that are plaguing the remote locale. Their physical comedy camaraderie is on-point, and the film’s peppered with eccentric locals such as unreliable narrator and other town souse, Paddy.
We eventually learn that alcohol is toxic to these creatures, so law enforcement interrupt a Sunday mass to announce a (free) party at the local pub in order to get locals sufficiently sauced to build up a resistance. It’s a terrific send up of the oft-excessive Irish drinking culture; it’s the country that gave us The Ginger Man for crissakes, not to mention, exporting blarney pub culture all over the planet.
Grabbers though, is really just a lovely, leisurely and persistently charming send-up of 1960s creature features, a real Cork-er if you will…
Irish writer Kevin Lehane asked himself, “Why do the aliens always land in America? Why couldn’t they land somewhere else?” Lehane, born and raised in County Cork, reproduced real-life Sherkin Island on screen here. And that somewhere else is lovely, with rugged terrain and beautiful sunsets.
You can see the love that went into Grabbers.
Grab a pint, build up your immunity, and enjoy.
And Happy St Patrick’s Day.
***1/2 (out of 5)