Grabbers (2013)
Grabbers (2013)

Genre: Horror Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.

Release Date: July 19th, 2013 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Jon Wright Actors: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Lalor Roddy, David Pearse, Bronagh Gallagher, Clelia Murphy, Louis Dempsey




trawling ship off the coast of Ireland investigates a distress signal, only to be attacked by some sort of extraterrestrial creature. On the nearby Erin Island, Garda Siochána members (or police officers) Ciarán O’Shea (Richard Coyle) and new recruit Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) head to the station to prepare for weekend duties. The boss will be gone for two weeks, requiring a bit of extra help despite the area being a sleepy little town – as O’Shea is an undependable drunkard. And, on the beach, marine ecologist Dr. Adam Smith (Russell Tovey) examines the dead bodies of a school of whales, which have been horribly mutilated by unexplainable means.

Meanwhile, a pair of lobster fishermen ensnares a mysterious little sea monster, which is stored in Paddy Barrett’s (Lalor Roddy) bathtub. When another troller, Declan Cooney (Ned Dennehy), finds a large egg, a series of deaths transpire – all involving a tentacled critter brutally mauling its victims. Smith determines that the culprit possesses leech-like qualities – along the lines of a deep sea squid – and only needs blood and water to survive. The catch is that persons with high blood-alcohol content are somewhat toxic to the “grabbers,” persuading the scientists and officers to continually imbibe to remain unattractive as prey.

From the unbelievably generic opening scene to the equally commonplace examination of corpses to the lighthearted music designed to contrast the looming monster attacks, everything in “Grabbers” unfolds in the most expected fashion. Even the unconvincing romance is tormentingly formulaic. Quick camera zooms and sudden loud noises substitute for cleverer scares, especially as the low budget is unable to accommodate more elaborate visuals. A refusal to show the aliens up close and in detail would have been purposeful if not for the unavoidable feeling that the special effects are too limited to allow for it in the first place. When they are finally revealed, the CG critters prove to be less than adequate. The practical effects, prosthetics, and makeup are similarly disappointing.

Most of the action takes place offscreen, with characters getting dragged away or assaults cutting to black before things get gruesome. This leads to long gaps in thrills and few memorable sequences. Against all odds, “Grabbers” actually needs younger actors to uphold its flimsy premise, as the notion of intoxicating a gathering of elderly tars to save their lives just doesn’t mesh. Drinking and acting stupid are activities better suited for stereotypical teenagers. And the need to consume to the point of borderline unconsciousness nearly defeats the occasions for excitement. Fortunately, humor is the priority, as plenty of gags attempt to offset the dull horror movie tropes – eventually leading to the only truly interesting scenes, which involve the deterioration of their situation when drunkenness interferes with decision-making.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10