Grabbers (2012) — Alien octopus tweaks fishing island’s nose

“I need a photograph with it for National Geographic! And Facebook.”

Justin’s rating: I picked the wrong day to give up drinking.

Justin’s review: As the story goes, screen writer Kevin Lehane was on vacation when he heard the myth that if you eat Marmite, your blood is altered to where mosquitoes don’t want to drink it. So when he got home, Lehane sat down to write a movie about people who deliberately got drunk to survive some external threat — a movie that would end up being Grabbers.

Grabbers exists in the same good company as Tremors: A creature feature that’s equal parts comedy, colorful characters, and monster jump scares. But instead of underground tunneling worms in the American West, this film brings us to a sleepy Irish island community where angry alien octopuses are snagging everyone they can find. And considering that these “grabbers” love to glom on to people, there are more than a few strands of Alien DNA in this as well.

On the same weekend that an overambitious police officer named Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) arrives for a two-week stint for extra credit or something, some sort of alien creature or creatures fall from the sky and start gobbling up fishermansticks from the buffet. It’s only thanks to Lisa’s alcoholic partner Ciarán (Richard Coyle) and his drinking buddy that people gradually realize that their best defense against the monsters is to get drunk and stay drunk.

And so you have the basic premise of the film: People who need to remain under the influence to survive but also have to rise above their stupor to actually fight Mr. Tentacle before they end up in an anime movie. So I guess it comes down to whether you find Irish drunks fighting aliens amusing or not. I have to say that with their accent, the swears here are far more charming than they are offensive.

Where the comparison to Tremors falters is in its characters. Lisa and Ciarán are functional but not nearly as great as Val and Earl, and the townsfolk are amusing but not quite up to the level of the inhabitants of Perfection, NV. I also don’t feel that the “booze up as a defense” angle is quite as interesting as Kevin Lehane was hoping it’d be.

As Grabbers went through the expected beats of discovery, attacks, frantic survival, and fighting back, I kept hoping for a little bit more — and never quite getting it. Still, it was a pleasant enough two hours of screaming, tentacle brutality, and Irish epithets.

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