GRABBERS – 4/3/14

2012 – Irish comedy/horror film

Almost every day, I mourn the deaths of the grand old video rental stores. In my high school and college years, my friends and I spent so many happy Saturdays searching for the lowest, most overlooked new releases. There were amazing gems buried there – movies like Mammoth (an alien re-animates a woolly mammoth found in a block of ice), Caw (killer crows attack people) and Beneath Loch Ness (pretty much what it sounds like). When Blockbuster opened in my home town, it killed off West Coast Video. Then Netflix and Redbox came along and killed Blockbuster. I had just gotten a new membership card, too. Damn shame.

So you’ll understand that I was almost drowned, Philippines villager-style, by a typhoon of nostalgia when I visited the Netflix Sci-Fi section and discovered this little treasure: “Residents of an Irish town must get very drunk to survive attacks by alien monsters.” Not just drunk – very drunk. This was a slam-dunk for an evening of entertainment, so I grabbed my old netbook and decided to record my live reactions to the oddly-named Grabbers (I thought the title was actually Crabbers until I squinted).

  • In the prologue, three fool Irishmen are out on a fishing boat. They see a green meteor crash into the sea and think it’s “a distress flair.”
  • “Do ye see anythin’?” “No… OH JAAAAAYSUS CHRIIIIII-” and we have our first victim.
  • We get another “Jaysus!” when the ship captain gets killed, making us two-for-two on sacrilegious death screams. The last remaining crewman yells, “Skipper! DAAAAD!” What? If the captain was really his dad, why did he yell “Skipper” first?
  • A cute young female cop meets a rough-around-the-edges drunk cop when she arrives for a brief stint of duty on Erin Island. He tells her to put her stuff “in the boot” of his car. If they call the trunk “the boot,” what do they call boots?
  • The Chief, who is leaving on a vacation, notes that most of the population is leaving for vacations of their own this weekend and that “the whole town will be dead.” Ha! Foreshadowing! The drunk cop asks the girl cop if she wants milk, and she asks what kind, and he replies, “Cow’s.” I can’t tell if he’s supposed to be funny or just an asshole.
  • Next we meet the town’s douche-y marine ecologist who just screams that he’s not going to survive the movie. He flirts with the girl cop as they examine the bodies of dead whales that washed up. Some idiot brings a monster that he caught in a crab cage back to his house and puts it in the bathtub.
  • A guy finds some kind of egg on the beach, then gets dragged into the ocean and killed. His friend goes to look for him and disappears. Body count is at 5 Irishmen (so, zero real people).
  • People in this movie say “feck” instead of “fuck.” Does it still count as a swear word?
  • A guy is watching Night of the Living Dead, and we see he’s at the scene where the brother says, “They’re coming to get you, Barbara.” I swear I’ve seen that in a movie before. There’s a knock at the door, and the monster dangles the body of the guy from the beach as a “lure” (this monster is incredibly clever). The guy goes outside to investigate and gets killed. His wife tries to close all the doors, but is afraid the monster will come down the chimney (???) so she struggles to close it and gets sucked up and killed. Body count: 7.
  • Drunk cop awkwardly hits on girl cop. Then the guy with the monster in his bathtub comes home and the monster (which looks like a big mass of blue tentacles) attacks him. He throws it onto the floor and stomps it, presumably to death. I have to say, I’m not blown away by this monster so far.
  • Bathtub guy brings the dead (?) monster to the douche-y marine ecologist and suggests they call it a “grabber.” Then he asks if they can “sell it on the e-Bay.” Please, kill this guy quickly. I also note that the dead (?) monster on the table is about one sixth the size it was in the bathroom scene.
  • Drunk cop says “I watch a lot of Columbo” to explain why he gets hunches. I love this.
  • We’re a half hour in and I can’t believe there’s still an hour more to go. Drunk obviously checks out Girl as she goes up a ladder.
  • OKAY. Get this: she climbs onto the roof of the house where the two people got killed. She finds something that looks like a tied-together string of bedsheets leading into the chimney. When she pulls on it, the head of the dead guy tumbles down and smacks Drunk in the face. Did the monster rig all that up just to scare them?
  • The gang (Drunk, Girl and Bathtub) try to find the monster’s lair and get attacked by an enormous one. They call the Irish Coast Guard, who won’t believe them because the Drunk is, well, a drunk.
  • Returning to the lab, the dead (?) monster comes back to life and attacks them. Douche grabs a chair, Girl grabs a knife, and Drunk, feeling inadequate, rolls up a newspaper. That’s kinda funny. The monster attacks the Drunk, but is weakened because he’s had a lot to drink and the monsters are, apparently, allergic to alcohol. So the Netflix summary gives away a key plot twist not revealed until 45 minutes into the movie. We get a monster POV shot of everyone stomping on it, which is lifted straight from Shaun of the Dead (2004).
  • I just managed to figure out that Girl’s name is Lisa and Drunk’s name is O’Shea. They talk about how she’s never been drunk before, but it kinda sounds like they’re talking about sex. Awkward.
  • “We’ll ‘ave to do shots. Probably tear the arse outta ye.” Best line in the movie. They go to the church and try to lure everybody to the pub to have a massive party. Nobody wants to come until they say it’ll be a free bar. Then even the priest decides to join! Typical Irish.
  • In another Shaun moment, it’s obvious that they’re going to be besieged in the pub by the monster(s). The main crew, consisting of Lisa, O’Shea, Douche, Bathtub, Barkeep and some other guy, assemble their weapons. Other Guy says he has “a nail gun… and a board, with a nail in it,” which is another good line.
  • “What are we gonna do with a pellet gun?” “Shoot pellets! …But. I don’t ‘ave any pellets.”
  • Lisa admits that she “fancies” O’Shea, but he turns her down because she’s really drunk, which is a classy moment. Other Guy goes outside to take a pee, which probably means he’s going to get killed. Dammit, I liked him. Kill Bathtub guy first!
  • There’s a touching moment where Lisa says, “I feel like I’ve known ye fer years.” We learn O’Shea drinks because his wife left him. Meanwhile, Other Guy is still pissing! He’s been pissing out there for four minutes! A bunch of tiny monster babies converge on him, but Lisa and O’Shea rescue him and we learn Other Guy’s name is “Jim.” But then the big monster turns up and eats Jim, spitting out his head to bring our “severed heads bounce around and hit the hero in the face” count to 2 and our body count to 8.
  • Bathtub’s actual name is Paddy, and Barkeep’s name is Brian. Douche, whose name is Smith, staggers outside drunkenly (the actor does a really bad job of acting drunk). Instead of eating him, the monster swats him into the ocean, where he presumably dies. Body count is at 9.
  • Since the monster needs blood and water to stay alive, they plan to somehow dry it out. However, they need “the drunkest person we’ve got” to try and lure it away. Of course it’s Lisa. She goes downstairs and fights a bunch of the little monsters – in another Shaun moment, the juke box turns on (this brings our Shaun of the Dead ripoffs to 3). She also sets the place on fire, which also happened in Shaun. Lisa and O’Shea drive off, and the monster follows them by rolling on its tentacles like a big tire.
  • The monster almost gets O’Shea at the construction site, but Lisa pins it with a bulldozer while calling it “the c-word,” which is sort of a jarring moment. They shoot a flare gun into some nearby oil barrels, incinerating the monster. Everyone else in the movie survives.
  • O’Shea and Lisa walk back to town, and she keeps offering him a celebratory drink, which seems odd because they just established that he’s an alcoholic. She decides to stay on the island and they kiss. I’m guessing one of the baby monsters survives, though, or there’s an egg left on the beach or something, leaving things open for a sequel. Lisa and O’Shea decide to adopt Jim’s dog. I don’t remember him having a dog earlier, or even being in the movie earlier, but if he was it was nice of the screenwriters to remember the dog.
  • Yep, sure enough, the incoming tide touches some hidden monster eggs and they start to hatch. Cue the credits.
  • According to the credits, O’Shea’s first name is “Ciaran.” Lisa’s last name is Nolan. Jim is actually “Dr. Gleeson.” Total Irish Body Count: 9. Severed Heads: 2. Shaun of the Dead Ripoff Moments: 4.

I was hoping this would be a “so bad it’s good” horror movie, but it’s actually a “comedy/horror” movie. It’s decently entertaining, but a tad long at an hour and a half. The acting is good (especially O’Shea and Lisa) and the effects are passable. All things considered, I’d rather watch this than The Pianist.

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