The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Grabbers | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Grabbers

Directed by: Jon Wright
Starring: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Bronagh Gallagher, Lalor Roddy

A small island off the Irish coast is held under siege by blood-sucking sea monsters.
Off the west coast of Ireland are a group of islands that would seem made for a horror movie. When you arrive the first thing you notice is the absence of cellphone coverage. Couple this with the lack of any local police and it's a screenwriter's dream. Unfortunately the people behind "Grabbers" are more interested in generating cheap laughs from Irish stereotypes than creating any atmosphere or tension.
It's a shame as this is quite a competently made film, certainly by the low standards of Irish cinema. Director Wright does an impressive job, showing a Spielberg influence in his camera movement and blocking. The cinematography makes rural Ireland look as good as it did when John Ford filmed "The Quiet Man" here. Films shot in my country are generally visually incompetent but this will do the tourism board no harm at all. For it's budget, the FX are quite good, far better than a SyFy original movie and on a par with most Hollywood blockbusters.
Ireland has never really taken to the visual arts, we're much too busy patting ourselves on the backs for a literary and theatrical tradition which has been dead for well over a century. Not counting second generation emigres like Ford and Huston, we've never produced a great film-maker. We do however manufacture many fine actors and the ensemble cast is by far this movie's strongest point, featuring some great craggy-faced character actors to complement the two charismatic leads. Bradley is a real find, one of those performers that instantly makes you feel you've been watching her for years. Coyle is actually an Englishman but his Irish accent is probably the most authentic I've heard from a foreign actor. 
All this good work is in vain as the script is dull and cliched and frankly quite insulting if you're Irish. The "comic" twist is that the sea monsters are allergic to alcohol so the locals all end up getting sloshed in the pub as a means of survival. Apparently this is considered funny enough in itself so the writer excuses himself from giving us any witty dialogue or situations. It's bad enough that the rest of the world portrays us as drunken clowns, do we really need to enforce it ourselves?