I’ll just got ahead and copy the synopsis given by Netflix for this movie. “Residents of an Irish island must get very drunk to survive attacks by alien monsters who can’t tolerate a high blood alcohol level in their victims.” If you read that and don’t immediately think “Oh man, I have to watch this movie” then I am so sorry and hopefully with some counseling and time you can learn to love again. Going into this, I was hoping for a stupid movie with lots of drunken Irish people and what I got was a classic monster movie in the style of Them! or The Blob with lots of drunken Irish people.
While the synopsis for the movie might lead you to believe that it was going to be a slapstick, drunk comedy with a monster tacked on to it, Grabbers actually takes itself fairly seriously. Not too seriously, mind you. Just serious enough that you can have some degree of tension and interest in the invading creatures without it being a constant stream of pratfalls or jokes about drinking. In fact, until about halfway through the movie, the drinking is really only done by two people (the town drunk/fisherman and the drunken cop/main character). The first half is the standard beats for a film of this type. Discovery of signs that there is a creature out there. Discovering how it attacks and what its weaknesses are. Formulating a plan to fight back against it. The pacing and flow of the film is actually quite good for what should, by all accounts, be a shitty b-horror movie.
The story follows Lisa Nolan, a police officer that is temporarily taking charge while the police chief goes on vacation since he can’t trust his other officer, Ciaran O’Shea, because he is a drunk. The two form the standard police duo of “strictly by the book” and “plays by their own rules” with the plot giving the two the opportunity to learn valuable lessons in having fun and being responsible, respectively. They investigate missing people and beached whales and eventually come to find out that there is a monster and its spawn that are on/near the island. Once they discover that the blood-sucking creatures are poisoned by ingested alcohol, they of course plan to get the whole town drunk in order to save it.
There are a lot of things the movie does as just a way to get the plot going the way it wants. When they decide someone needs to stay sober so that there can be someone with a clear head calling the shots, it ends up being O’Shea instead of Lisa, which makes no sense since you would think that someone that has spent most days drunk would be better at dealing with being drunk than someone that has, according to the character, never had a drink before. Also, Lisa falls for O’Shea because that’s what they want to have happen. The two of them only know each other for a couple days and during that time he is mostly drunken, slovenly, and useless and there is pretty much no connection that happens between them. Just randomly at some point it’s like “I like you because you are the main character and that’s what should happen.”
All that aside, it does have a lot of fun with certain aspects. The baby Grabbers are like little slug-things and done as sort of that cute-gross type. At one point they invade the bar and have a scene that is highly reminiscent of Gremlins with the slugs knocking over things and swinging from lights. I also like the design of the main Grabber as a giant mass of roiling different tentacles with a lamprey-esque mouth in the middle of it. In all, I’d give this movie a 3.5 out of 5 and recommend it if you are a fan of any of the old goofy monster movies.