Grabbers REVIEW

Grabbers DVD review: Stout resistance.

Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley and Russell Tovey in Grabbers.

We hope that’s not a copy of SFX he’s mistreating there. Tut.

Release Date: 31 December 2012
2012 | 15 | 90 minutes | £12.99 (DVD)/£19.99 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Director: Jon Wright
Cast: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Lalor Roddy, David Pearse

Hold on… someone made a horror-comedy in which a hapless bunch of small-town yokels fight off monsters, and they called it Grabbers? Isn’t that a bit like making a movie about a 30-foot high lizard on the rampage and giving it the title Godzilloid? If that went over your head, commiserations: you’ve obviously never seen 1990 cult favourite Tremors. Just as obviously, the writer of this film has.

Set on a small Irish island, it pits sozzled Garda officer Ciarán (Richard Coyle) and straight-laced new partner Lisa (Ruth Bradley) against bloodsucking wee beasties and – eventually – their titanic tentacular parent. Luckily, scientist Dr Smith (Russell Tovey, in “posh Brit” mode) makes a discovery: these alien invaders can’t stomach liquor, so all they have to do is pollute the food supply by getting the entire population totally soused. Cue a siege on the island’s one pub.

Accurate though it is, it feels like an unsatisfactorily backhanded compliment to call this charming indie the Irish Tremors, because it’s a cut above pretty much every monster-mash horror-comedy of the last two decades. The thwarted romantics, bickering marrieds and boozy bullshitters that make up its cast of characters are funny but plausible, generating some laugh-out-loud lines (“What killed him?” “The fact he’s just a head”); the CG effects are surprisingly accomplished (particularly Papa Grabber, rolling along like a Cthulhian tumbleweed); and there are some jolting shocks… Even the inevitable romantic subplot is really rather sweet.

Sure, Grabbers doesn’t exactly shake the foundations of cinema when it comes to innovation, but its blend of fun and frights makes for a thoroughly intoxicating brew.


Commentary by the director, the writer, the sound designer, the effects supervisor and the cinematographer; a behind-the-scenes doc (40 minutes); an interview with the director conducted at Frightfest (16 minutes); out-takes, an isolated score; and a gallery.

Ian Berriman

Watch the Grabbers trailer.
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