Movie Review: Grabbers (2012, Dir. Jon Wright)

Grabbers DVD Review

Who doesn’t love a good monster movie?

I bet if H.P. Lovecraft were living in this era today he’d probably get a kick out of Grabbers. I know I certainly did. Monsters aside, the setup has a little bit in common with Hot Fuzz (2007). Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley), a cop from the city, is coming in to quiet and peaceful Erin Island for two weeks to replace a vacationing sheriff. Lisa feels like the female counterpart to Fuzz’s Nicolas Angel, but in this movie she knows the countryside is the place where the really “mad shit” happens. On the other hand, Ciaran O’Shea (Richard Coyle), the alcoholic officer who’s been ordered to show her the ropes, scoffs at her countryside outlook.

It’s Erin Island for Christ’s sake. Nothing happens on Erin Island.

Well, it does now.

The night before, a meteor crashed into the ocean. Mistaking it for a rescue flare, a fishing trawler spotted it and went to have a look. Something in the water, something we, the viewers, don’t see yet, managed to kill all the crew.

The first order of business for visiting Nolan and resident O’Shea is to head down to the beach to find out why there are a bunch of dead whales scattered about sporting terrible wounds. Here we meet marine biologist, Dr. Adam Smith (Russell Tovey) who assures everyone it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Yet, what local fisherman, Paddy Barrett (Lalor Roddy) finds in his trap is anything but. He takes it home and puts it in his bathtub. This is a small female. There’s something much bigger that came down in that meteor and it begins fishing for humans right away. And I mean that literally.

A couple is lured out of their home by a seemingly drunk neighbor who is being dangled like a live worm. He’s dead, though, and when he “collapses” on the front lawn, the husband rushes out and is quickly snatched up by something on top of the house. The wife is taken through the chimney as she tries to close the flue.

The tentacled menace that has invaded Erin Island looks like an immense alien sea anemone, with young that resemble fat worms. It’s quickly determined these creatures are hard to kill. Water revives them when they dry out and “die” and human based alcohol is poisonous to them. I was a bit confused as to their feeding habits though. Early on Smith determines they survive on the blood of their victims which is sucked up through their tentacle tongue after it whips out and latches on to you, but the giant male simply engulfs its prey in it’s huge meat grinder mouth and eats you alive, commonly leaving a severed head in it’s wake.

The tone of the movie is very much like that of Tremors (1990) where you have comedy mixed with monster chills. The CGI used to bring the aptly named “Grabbers” to life is top notch and watching a village of drunkards try and survive the creatures while at the same time hatching a plan to trap it until the storm stops so the sun can dry it out the next day is hilarious.

Video/Audio/Subtitles: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen—5.1 Dolby Digital—English & Spanish subtitles.

The UK has had this movie on DVD and blu-ray for the better part of 2012 and it is just now hitting US shores courtesy of MPI Home Video. Bad news, though, it only got a standard DVD release, but I personally think the cover art is better than the UK’s, where most times their DVD cover art is better than ours. Oh, and, yes, there is more bad news, the UK release gets a commentary, a director interview and outtakes and a photo gallery. The only extra ported over for us was the trailer and the Behind The Scenes (16:48) featurette, which hits all the required buttons, conception, script, effects and cast interviews.

I liked the movie a lot. Aside from the likable characters, clever plot, and excellent CGI, I loved its Lovecraftian vibe, which had me reminiscing about that author’s tales surrounding his “Cthulhu Mythos.”

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