Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A CREATURE FEATURE THAT'S GOOD, ENTERTAINING, AND HIGHLY AFFORDABLE...




Grabbers (2012) Ireland/UK

As a creature feature and self-described cult film, this movie seems to be very polarizing - people either loved it or hated it. I'm not sure why feelings either way were so strong - like the very popular Tremors, this film was simply what it was supposed to be - a bit of fluff to enjoy with a bit of a story and a big monster. No big whoop.


Forward Films is spanking new. They have only three movies under their belt, including this one, with a Danish Western of all things due to be shown at the Cannes Festival on May 17, with a release date of October 2, 2014. Although it is Danish it was shot in Johannesburg, South Africa (?!?)

Of course, even though I liked the movie a lot, I've still got all my snarks in a row - but since this is mostly Miss Mayhem's
review, I'll just butt in with one or five or so throughout. She enjoyed it also, and was very relieved when I assured her it was nothing like the movie Alien (by the way, we lost an extremely talented Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor and set designer who, besides working on the original Alien movie was also known for his art on famous album covers, as well as an, ahem, unique microphone for Korn's Jonathan Davis - H.R. Giger, who was 74, passed away May 13, 2014).

Before I could really get going though, Miss Mayhem reminded me of a few things - one, it's a film from Ireland who really don't have a ton of horror movies out there (true - the wiki only lists 19, but then again I don't know what years they cover). Two, they did a pretty decent job of balancing both actual models and CGI versions of the 'monster' - especially since they only spent what in US dollars equaled around $6.7 million which is.... damned cheap really. Watch the movie - it WILL impress you. So she begins:

Miss Mayhem: Our movie starts on an island off the Irish coast which is just beautiful... which island? Umm... 

Miss Murder: Ireland is itself an island and the list of smaller 'islands' goes on for miles - and those are off the ocean. You should see the list for those on lakes and rivers. But this says Erin Island which may be an inside joke because Erin means both "Ireland" and "west" - the name given by Scotland. But this island (whichever it actually is) IS very beautiful with small towns and rolling hills and beautiful beaches... hmm, I think I know where I want to live. For this movie they had two locations: Belfast, County Antrim and County Donegal. Apparently it was one of the coldest winters they've had in a long time and shooting the film was pretty miserable to everybody.


Miss Mayhem: So at the start, a fishing boat is out at night when they see a massive bright light in the sky which plummets into the ocean...

Miss Murder: And no meteorologist or astronomer saw this coming? Huge fireballs out of the sky and they just sneak up on us?

Miss Mayhem: Ahem. Soon the three on the boat are killed by... something. The next day pilot whales are found washed up on the beach, ripped to pieces. I was relieved to find that one was a prop, the rest were digital.

Miss Murder: LOTS of CGI in this one...

Miss Mayhem: A local named Paddy (yes, I know), who's the colorful town drunk (besides Coyle) finds one in a lobster trap (obviously a small one) and puts it in his bathtub to keep it wet. He's not worried about safety, he's mostly thinking of money. Meanwhile we have two policepersons (called Garda, and definitely not carrying sidearms) Ciarán O'Shea (Richard Coyle), who drinks constantly since his wife left him, and his new partner for two weeks while another is on vacation, a volunteer named Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley). 

But even though Paddy's 'alien' is small enough to fit in the lobster trap, it's nasty enough to first spit... something all over him, then attack him with what I thought was a tentacle but apparently it's a tongue. It tries to drink Paddy's blood...

Miss Murder: Wait, wait, wait, WAIT... what??? Let's get this straight for the reader. An alien. From space. Crashes unseen to earth (okay the ocean). It needs water and BLOOD? What, did it come from Blood Planet? Planet Of The Bloody Creatures? Planet...

Miss Mayhem: This is not MST3K and we are NOT riffing, okay? Paddy beats the alien to death (he thinks) and takes it to the local marine ecologist...

Miss Murder: Because every small island has to have...

Miss Mayhem: Shhhhh. You're sick, remember? Let me drive. Despite the ecologist wanting to find the genus of the species...

Miss Murder: Did you say genius?

Miss Mayhem: What, you can't read now either? Go sit over there and play with your Wii.

Miss Murder: I don't have a...

Miss Mayhem: READ A BOOK! Anyway, Paddy is determined to call the thing a 'Grabber' since that's what it did to him. The name sticks. Since by now several people have been murdered (they found one severed head - not very real looking but for a small budget film not bad) they wonder why Paddy's still alive. They're quick to figure out (this film's 94 minutes so they gotta move along so you can see the REAL monster) that this alien that somehow needs Earth's water and blood cannot take alcohol (which Paddy thinks is a food group).

Miss Murder: In this land of incredible dumbity and coincidences, a severe storm is coming which means there's no help coming from the mainland - AND there'll be lots of water to keep the other monster very happy (they figured the captive one was female when they discovered she was full of eggs - each one the size of her body - ouch!). They also discover that the male is the size of a house. Okay, we've got the setup for the next silly bit.

Basically, every person left on the island (many had gone to the mainland at the beginning of the film, probably so they wouldn't be stuck in this movie) has to meet at the pub and get stinking drunk in order to keep them safe from the CGI monster.

Miss Mayhem: It wasn't all CGI - they had close ups so they did have quite a bit of real models so it was a pretty neat combination.

Miss Murder: With some movie duh mixed in...

Miss Mayhem: Later. The two Garda draw the people into the pub by declaring that the alcohol is free. They had gotten the newbie drunk (she usually doesn't drink) to find out how much one has to drink to equal Paddy's BAC (that's blood alcohol lever by the way) of .20 and they figure eight pints each at least. They think that's a lot.

Miss Murder: Meh, I've seen one blow .42 before and he was still breathing.

Miss Mayhem: Good for you. 

Miss Murder: Everybody starts to have a good time and all of a sudden they're singing an Irish drinking song that sounds... very familiar. I'm listening as close as I can (it's on the jukebox and their singing is pretty slurred but the one I knew was this (not my video of course, but enjoy):



They, of course, are not the only ones who have re-done this song. I had always wondered why Metallica (with recently shorn locks that upset the metal world) would sing;

I first produced my pistol and then produced my rapier. I said: "Stand and deliver or the devil he may take ya". Musha ring dum-a do dum-a da,Whack for my daddy-o, Whack for my daddy-o, There's whiskey in the jar-o.

The rest of the words to Whiskey In The Jar depend on whose singing the song - The Dubliners, The Grateful Dead, Thin Lizzy, or Metallica. What were the original words? Since it's thought that the song began somewhere in the 17th century, no one is exactly sure.

Everyone gets stinking drunk, except for Garda O'Shea (Coyle) who volunteered to stay sober to keep everyone safe. But the drunk marine ecologist decides he wants a 'selfie' of the monster and him for National Geographic (and Facebook - his words). He's right in that the monster can't eat him, but it does fling him for what looked like over a mile - and he's dead.

Miss Murder: Are you sure? Did you see the body?

Miss Mayhem: I have duct tape and I'm not afraid to use it. Next to go outside is a gentleman who doesn't want to wait in line for the bathroom.

Miss Murder: The Piss Of Death.

Miss Mayhem: Do we have to....

Miss Murder: THE PISS OF DEATH!!! Or at least it would have been, but he's rescued by the two Garda who've been in their vehicle watching the building. There apparently were a lot of eggs so now we have 'Attack Of The Killer CGI Babies'. Or, to be more graphic, big nasty slugs with round, teeth filled mouths.

Miss Mayhem: Even drunk and without the ecologist, they
figure the huge male is looking for his mate. Paddy makes a comment that the male must smell his mate near the building which is why he's there. O'Shea realizes that the female, who had spit on him also when the 'dead' thing had revived (until they bludgeoned it to death - again) so he 'smells' enough for the male to follow, determines to lead the thing to a construction site. 

Miss Murder: What could they possibly be constructing on a small fishing island? I mean the hole they're leading it to is freaking deep...

Miss Mayhem: Let me tell this, okay? Just take another pain pill. The male monster follows them to the site...

Miss Murder: (slurring words a little) Wait a sec, I remember something...

Miss Mayhem: Go lie down or something.

Miss Murder: No no - this is where I was bashing the CGI really good. See, they're in the pouring rain - I mean soaking wet rain with this huge monster which I know is mostly CGI...

Miss Mayhem: And?

Miss Murder: Well, look at it bit by bit. The shot of O'Shea and Nolan has pouring rain and them soaking wet. Then it cuts to the monster - wet, no rain. Back, rain. Back, no rain. Back, rain...

Miss Murder: I think there's a chocolate bar left in the fridge. Good girl. Now to finish: We get a tense finish as the plan to lure the monster onto a forklift (the idea being to keep it out of water and let the sun kill it) is a no go because there's no forklift - then O'Shea falls into the big hole and hurts his leg. The 'Grabber' jumps in to kill him - and is pinned to the earth as a drunken Nolan, who had found a large piece of equipment, drives it right into the hole on top of the monster, pinning it down and keeping it there.

It's not dead however, and grabs O'Shea again - but he was just given a bottle of the stuff Paddy's been making and it did not like it a bit. Nolan grabs the flare gun they had (with no weapons they were reduced to things like super soakers and household items) and shoots explosives that are conveniently left in the open at the bottom of the pit. After O'Shea gets out of the way of course.

Now it's morning and the two Garda are walking back to town. Then we see the beach, and at least five more monster eggs, one beginning to hatch.

I'm going to end this before Miss Murder finishes her candy bar.

❦❦❦ Miss Mayhem ❦ ❦ ❦