Irish director Jon Wright’s Grabbers is an inconsequential monster movie that seeks to be part horror, part comedy, and succeeds at neither. The supposed humor hinges on the inhabitants of a small island community holed up in the local pub and liquored up so their intoxicated blood is poisonous to an invading octopus-like creature from space (think the Kraken from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest). If you’re expecting frat-boy hijinks along the lines of Animal House or the recent Project X, keep your expectations low.
It turns out watching this community of movie drunkards is even less amusing than watching real drunkards. Wright and screenwriter Kevin Lehane only trouble themselves with stale jokes like grandma getting drunk, the pretty but uptight new constable getting drunk, and the old town drunk getting drunk. To Wright, drunk equals funny, no matter what the characters are doing, and in Grabbers they aren’t doing much.
What little plot there is neglects its own internal logic, as the sloshed townsfolk still end up victim to the feature’s creature. Everything that precedes and proceeds is as predictable as it is dull and the inevitable explosive showdown is more of a fizzle.
The saving grace of Grabbers‘ otherwise apathetic execution is its attention to special effects and cinematography. While not exactly groundbreaking, both are at least professional and the actors, though far too serious and solemn for what is presumably a merry romp, devote themselves fully to their roles. If only Wright and Lehane had done the same.
See instead: Tremors (1990). Delightful 1950s-style monster movie with a touch of goofy, sometimes slapstick humor that never degenerates into outright parody or farce.