Back for more, I see. Well, we’ve got a good one today, as the Unseen Horror continues our look into horror-comedies. Last time, we saw that zombies and satire can still work when combined with humor. So today, we see if that holds up with aliens, with a look into the Irish horror-comedy GRABBERS.

The Plot

Irish cop (and alcoholic) Ciaran O’Shea finds himself saddled with two problems. One is his new partner, the by-the-book Lisa Nolan. The other is beached whales, drained of blood. However, O’Shea learns that the whales are just precursors to the real problem– an invasion of tentacled alien monsters that survive on blood and water.

O’Shea and his allies realize that their island home, and an upcoming storm, will give the creatures easy access to human prey. However, the ‘grabbers’ do have one weakness– they’re allergic to alcohol. O’Shea and co. must corral the populace and get them as drunk as possible while they try to eliminate the grabbers once and for all.

Erin Go Bragh?

OK, let’s get the elephant out of the room first. GRABBERS is a movie about Irish people fighting off monsters by getting drunk. So is it mocking stereotypes? The answer is… well, yes and no. The concept certainly plays on the cliche that Irish people love alcohol. And yes, they do have an old man with a shillelagh named Paddy.

However, the film was produced in part by the Irish Film Board, so it’s unlikely they’d make a cliche out of the Irish. In truth, the movie plays these factors more like a creature feature would. Alcohol and drinking feature as a weapon. And as a person that’s half Irish, I enjoyed the pub scenes where the townspeople are drinking and singing. However, the main factor that keeps the movie from being cliche is the characters.

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Responsible Drinkers

The film depicts the characters as intelligent and capable people in their own right. From the pub owner to the British scientist, everyone in the film come off as fully rounded, functional people. This is especially true for the leads of Lisa and Ciaran. Lisa is portrayed as incredibly by the book, almost to the point of making her rigid. She comes off as incredibly good at her job, and her getting drunk actually leads to further character growth. Lisa reveals in her drunkenness that she lives in the shadow of her older sister, hence her need to excel.

Ciaran arguably uses alcohol for his character arc. He begins as a functional alcoholic, only able to keep his job because of the quiet nature of the town. As the film moves on, he slowly becomes more responsive as a result of the grabbers and Lisa. Ciaran formulates the plan to protect the townsfolk through drink. He even volunteers to be the ‘designated driver’ in order to control the drunken populace.

It’s a stark turnaround for his character, that might be a metaphor for beating addiction, but shows that he was always capable. These characters keep the film grounded (even Paddy, who is essential for discovering how to kill the grabbers). This gives the film a feeling of poking fun at stereotypes or even turning them on their heads, rather than being offensive.

From The Depths

Good characters in a monster movie only work against a good monster. Thankfully, the grabbers themselves work perfectly. The monster feels like perfect B-movie monsters, which lets the film be much more fun as a result. Most importantly, the look of the creatures matches the potential of their concept.

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The grabbers are a mix of CGI and practical effects for the smaller ones. Thankfully, the two methods combine quite well. The psychical grabbers look perfectly slimy and disgusting, while the lager, CGI versions do the same thing on a larger scale. The creatures never look fake or tacked in, which is vital for a film like this. Just look at how well these monster function.

Grab A Pint & Check Out GRABBERS

GRABBERS is simply a fun creature feature with a unique premise. The characters are likable, the story doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the effects are excellent. It takes a premise that could be offensive and makes a good-natured rib out of it. So if you like creature features and laughs in your horror, this is a good brew to swallow.

Well, we’re nearly at the end of our run at the Unseen Horror. Come back next week, when we end with a bang. For now, just remember, six more days till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween…

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