Feeling like a curious half-breed between the rambunctious islander comedy of the charming Waking Ned, and Joon-Ho Bong's grand, character-centric creature feature The Host, Grabbers is a thoroughly charming and welcome blend of terror and blarney.

A trawler is attacked, and Erin Island's shore is found with huge swathes of savaged sea-life. Local alcoholic police officer, Ciaran (Richard Coyle - Coupling), workaholic Lisa (Ruth Bradley) and a marine biologist (a cheerfully plummy Russell Tovey) team up to find out what's killed them and started gobbling up the population.

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Grabbers starts off strongly. Richard Coyle's deadpan drunkard works well as the film's anchor, pulling off half-pissed witticisms, and is an interesting foil for the uptight Lisa on the situational absurdity. He rises to the challenge, although his renouncing of booze is as convincing as Bob Hoskins' in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. There are plenty of "boo" shocks and tension. Bradley's plot-driven first-time drunk is a sheer joy.

The Grabber beasties (similarly named to the Graboids from Ron Underwood's hilarious Tremors) are not bad - cephalopodic monstrosities with sliding circular mouths that look like they're designed to bite and never, never let go. The creature CG work is sparse and occasionally dodgy but, combined with good sound design, convincing.

Writer Kevin Lehane mines comedy from the trio's ingenious immunisation scheme and the backdrop. As in Shaun Of The Dead, a great deal of the run-time is by necessity a pub lock-in - "a free bar", yay! The extended cast sparkles - delivering a delightfully cohesive ensemble piece, by turns anarchic, cheerful, party-loving and conservative.

A slight derailment at the finale aside, it's an enormously entertaining picture and a nearly perfect midnight movie crowdpleaser. Great fun!

Reviewed on: 24 Jun 2012
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A small island community is terrorised by monsters from the sea.
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Director: Jon Wright

Writer: Kevin Lehane

Starring: Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Lalor Roddy, David Pearse, Bronagh Gallagher, Pascal Scott, Clelia Murphy, Louis Dempsey, Micheál O'Gruagain, Ned Dennehy, Stuart Graham, Killian Coyle, Michael Hough, Jonathan Ryan

Year: 2012

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Ireland, UK

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If you like this, try:

Waking Ned