I’ve been looking forward to this one for some time now as Grabbers unexpectedly bypassed most, if not all, UK cinemas. Finally it arrives on DVD and I didn’t waste any time seeking out a copy. I was hoping for a clever combination of comedy and horror à la Shaun of the Dead but sadly Grabbers disappoints on both fronts.
Grabbers is a throwback to the style of monster movie that I watched frequently growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. Here we have the inhabitants of a small coastal community finding themselves under attack from squid-like creatures that came from outer space and like to grab their victims then devour them whole before spitting out the bit they don’t like. What will the residents do to survive? Get completely and utterly blind drunk is the answer as they discover that alcohol is toxic for a Grabber and thus rendering them grabber-less.
The biggest problem I had with Grabbers is that it wasn’t nearly as funny as it should have been. I expected more from a predominantly Irish cast that were well and truly up for the ‘crack’ in order to survive. Central to the film is a blossoming romance between our two leads which is given to much focus and therefore eating away at both any basis for humour and any real possibility of tension. Grabbers is a very sweet film at its core with likeable characters and a location that looks beautifully crisp on blu-ray disc, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of horror. Maybe it’s not supposed to be this type of film and maybe its target is a more family orientated audience. Though if this were the case, some of the language is too strong and some scenes may prove too violent for younger peepers. Heads do roll after all. Its desired appeal is one for debate.
As for the Grabbers themselves, they are an impressive example of CGI. However, as we all know computer generated imagery is not in the slightest bit scary. They look polished as they grab and roll about the place but like the majority of computer generated monsters on film they look completely detached from realism and therefore never truly believable. If you suffer with arachnophobia then you may feel a bit uneasy at the sight of a Grabber rolling across the landscape, tentacles flapping, in pursuit of our heroes but sadly that is as close as they get to inducing terror of any kind.
Grabbers is a hard film to truly dislike as the characters are endearing but it is a bad example of a horror film. Despite this, It does entertain for the most part with my attention only really wandering as the film made headway towards it’s conclusion, which is never a good sign, but in fairness I did have one eye on the football scores as the Arsenal were losing. The conclusion was a rather timid affair whilst the very last shot has been done so many times previously with this type of film genre that it left me unsure as to whether Grabbers was paying homage to monster movies or indeed whether it was just completely outdated – “hey Grabbers, the 1990s called, they want their movie back!”
I expected a lot more from Grabbers. The gore hungry among you should avoid completely. I recommend Grabbers to the 14 year old boy I was back in 1994 because he would have enjoyed this film a lot more than I did.