Ah, Netflix Roulette…much like the game it takes its namesake from (and the variant that uses a marble and spinning board instead of a pistol), you never know what you’re going to get. Flipping through my recommendations this evening, I thought the description of this film sounded like some cheesy monster fun, so I decided to check it out. Let’s see if it’s good or if it’s the cinematic equivalent of a bullet to the brain, shall we?
On the remote island of Erin, off the coast of Ireland, local police officer O’Shea (Richard Coyle) resents having been paired with workaholic newcomer Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley). However, while investigating a beaching of mutilated whale carcasses, they come to realize that the island has become host to a group of blood-sucking tentacled creatures (a precredit sequence suggests that the creatures either came from space, or were disturbed by a falling meteorite). As the creatures move in to start feeding on the local populace, a chance encounter between one of the monsters and Paddy, the town drunk, reveals that the creatures will die if they consume alcohol-tainted blood.
The townsfolk gather in the local pub to bolster themselves as an oncoming storm provides the creatures with a means of crawling further inland. But will a BAC of .2 be enough when the big daddy monster emerges?
It’s nice to see a horror-comedy these days that isn’t a zombie movie. It really is. In a lot of ways, it’s very much a wet Irish TREMORS, something that I think was very much intentional, straight down to the naming of the monsters as “Grabbers” being reminiscent of the way the worms in TREMORS were dubbed “Graboids” — and with characters arguing over whether the chosen name was a good one or not.
The monsters are delightfully simple, just writhing masses of tentacles surrounding a wet, sphincter-like mouth; shorter tentacles ring the mouth more closely, and a whiplike tongue emerges to drain blood. For the most part the monsters are realized through CGI, which I’d almost say is a requirement for creatures of this sort, except I’ve seen EL MONSTRO DEL MAR, which manages to create a tentacled beastie with wholly practical effects. Regardless, I loved the monsters here.
I also really loved the “look” of the cast. These are not the “beautiful” people of a Hollywood production; the faces on display here are stark, weathered features, lives lived hard displayed in every line, wrinkle and crease. This just visually gives the film so much more character then if everyone was generically attractive. The people are like the landscape of Erin Island – grim and worn, but unbeaten.
Finally, THANK YOU to the filmmakers for putting a flaregun to good use in the film. Too few monster movies take advantage of this handy little tool. Of course, I pretty much just want to shoot off a flaregun at anything and everything, so take that with a grain of salt.
Final Analysis: A fun little monster movie that doesn’t take itself particularly seriously, has a good looking set of creatures, some solid performances, good comedy and some beautifully Irish feckers who don’t hesitate to turn a Super Soaker into a flamethrower. I say give it a watch; I don’t think you’ll be terribly disappointed.
Overall, I give GRABBERS (2012)…
FOUR BARRELS OF TOXIC WASTE.