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Monday, February 24, 2020

Grabbers (2012)



I was in the mood for a good monster movie and I remembered enjoying this one a couple of years ago, so I thought I’d give it another go. It was easy enough to find streaming, so I queued it up and got to watching.

Grabbers is set on a remote Irish island. One night after watching something crash into the ocean from the sky the men on a small fishing boat are attacked and killed by an unseen creature. Then the action shifts to our main characters of O’Shea, an alcoholic cop who lives on the island and the ambitious woman, Nolan, who has volunteered for temporary service there to advance her career. The two of them end up investigating some disappearances that clearly become murders when the bodies start to pile up. Though they don’t realize what they are dealing with right away soon enough they figure out it is a creature or creatures doing the killing. The rest of the movie is them doing battle with the monsters until the explosive finale.

This is a by the numbers monster movie that focuses on giving the audience what we expect as quickly and as often as possible. I like that approach and appreciate that the filmmakers don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel with Grabbers. They tease us with some early kills and establish that the creatures are from space with the opening scenes. No muss, no fuss. After that we get the characters introduced, including the requisite outsider, in this case Nolan. This allows the audience to identify with her as she tries to not only figure out what his happening but also attempts to navigate the small community and its quirky inhabitants. It makes for an interesting and enjoying watch.

I dig the creature effects work
All of the above character stuff is accomplished in maybe fifteen minutes of runtime, so it gets sorted and out of the way quick. Then we start to get kill scenes and creatures lurking about. There are a couple different kinds of monsters here, the baby ones and the big one. The baby ones show up pretty early on and while all CGI are done well enough that it didn’t bother me. I feel the same way with the larger creature that makes an appearance towards the end. In both cases I like the fact they are totally alien in appearance rolling around the scenes with tentacles sprouting in all directions. I have nothing to reference them to as they aren’t trying to be at all familiar which helps make the digital effects work. The filmmakers also do a wonderful job of blending the creatures with the cast when they are forced to interact. There is a particularly good bit with a truck and the larger monster that is cleverly done. This is where far too many creature movies fail. Making the audience believe that the people on screen exist with the monsters is key and they do a fine job at it.

Grabbers isn’t groundbreaking or very memorable. But not everything needs to be a groundbreaking classic and some movies can just be a solid good time. This is a well-made monster movie that knows what it wants to do and does it efficiently. If you are in the mood for something new that you haven’t seen before but is also familiar, then this would be a perfect choice.


© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

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