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kilowog [Film Festival 01.28.12] scifi horror comedy

Year: 2012
Directors: Jon Wright
Writers: Kevin Lehane
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: kilowog
Rating: 8 out of 10

Ever believe that the days of Tremors and Gremlins are long gone? Think again. Thanks to a few blood sucking creatures from space, UK film-maker and Sundance Midnight screener, Jon Wright, has triumphantly converted Kevin Lehane's deftly executed screenplay for his monster comedy Grabbers into a potential reawakening of the genre. Stacked with scene-stealing performances, chuckle-inducing one-liners and lovely gruesomeness, this may well be this year's Attack The Block.

Set on a small island off the Irish coast, uptight and by-the-book officer Garda Lisa Nolan (the adorable, Ruth Bradley) has landed herself on the small burgh as a replacement for a vacationing officer. Delivering herself from the big city, she's armed with excitement and ready for danger. Upon encountering her new partner, the "I need a drink before breakfast" O’Shea ("Coupling" star Richard Coyle) you'd expect her to be knocked down a few pegs when she's informed that nothing big ever happens on the island, but she intelligently reminds us that its the quiet places where the most "shit happens." She's not wrong. The alien creatures from our opening scene slamming into the water and eviscerating the crew of a local fishing boat tells us so.

The two unlikely partners set about an investigation when a number of beached, dead and equally sliced open whales land on shore. After consulting with resident egghead Smith (Russell Tovey) whose someone right out of the "Big Bang Theory," they find the origins of the wounds are inconclusive. As locals begin disappearing and fisherman Paddy (the outright hilarious, Lalor Roddy) shows up in Smith's lab with a "grabber" he found in his lobster trap, it's easy to assume that all is not as it seems.

Back in the lab, Smith determines that the worm-like creatures feed on blood, thrive on water, and hate the taste of alcohol; concluding the only way to fend off and defeat the aliens is by keeping drunk. A defense mechanism if there ever was one.

The film never takes itself for more than its worth, providing a high element of entertainment and keeping its tongue firmly planted in cheek. In doing so, it never shies away from the concept of the Irish liking their drink; debauchery and slovenly behavior are never far behind even in the case of the local Preacher who later joins in on the fun. Outright comparisons can and will be made to Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead, but where Shaun occasionally hinged on sentimentals, this Wright (unrelated) sticks to his comedy chops, and rightly so. Casting here proves key as the supporting actors elevate a cast unrecognisable to most Americans and helps you remember that good writing is only one element at play in a good comedy even if you have adorable baby grabbers to contend with. The addition of quality effects both visually and auditoriy keep Grabbers equally legitimate within the confines of a low-budget.

Whether its as a theatrical experience or as a late night movie at home, Grabbers will keep you laughing and offer up more than a few “ewws.” As a more than respectable addition to its horror-comedy genre, could you ask for anything more?

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