Grabbers: Aliens Versus Alcoholic Irishmen

Grabbers

Runs Fri., Aug. 2–Thurs., Aug. 8 at Grand Illusion. Not rated. 94 minutes.

This lighthearted Irish creature-com lays out its premise a little earlier than needed. That being: Tentacled, bloodsucking aliens are spawning on the beach of a small island where the two cops (or Garda) don’t even carry guns. But the ocean-dwelling “grabbers,” as they’re called, find alcohol toxic—so let’s all get drunk to defend ourselves! This is not a movie to fret about unsavory Irish stereotypes, though it’s full of colorful village types, from the pub-keeper to the priest to the fisherman who pulls up the first writhing beast and unwisely stores it in his bathtub.

Director Jon Wright and writer Kevin Lehane draw equally from the Jaws and Gremlins playbooks, killing off a few named characters but mainly going for laughs. The bigger, male monster remains hidden for the most of the film (it can roam inland in the rain, pinwheeling on its many limbs). Its smaller, egg-laying mate is treated more for comedy: When she springs into face-sucking mode in the lab, our panicked heroes use brooms, chairs, and a rolled-up magazine to drive the thing off. The mood here is essentially Keystone Cops go Gaelic.

Local constable Ciarán O’Shea (Richard Coyle) is an alcoholic barely competent to do his job on an island without any crime. (Of his qualifications, he says, “I watch a lot of Columbo.”) Subbing as his partner is no-nonsense Dublin officer Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley). She naturally disapproves of feckless Ciarán, and you can predict how their relationship will evolve—particularly after teetotaler Lisa has to get soused to inoculate herself against the monsters and their crawling grubs. Grabbers uses its CG budget sparingly but effectively. The real production value lies in the coastal scenery of County Donegal. You can see why aliens would want to visit. The local tourist slogan could be, Come for the blood, stay for the pints.

bmiller@seattleweekly.com

 
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