We're Gonna Need A Bigger Bottle

Grabbers - 2012
Written by Kevin Lehane
Directed by Jon Wright

Anyone who tells you that they aren't making them like they used to simply isn't looking hard enough.  Now I'll grant you, at the Hollywood blockbuster level, they're definitely making them differently, but in Ireland, evidently, they're making them like the Spielberg/Zemekis/Dante/Donner class of the 1980s -- with one big difference; no obnoxious kids!

When a meteor crashes into the ocean near Erin Island, off the coast of mainland Ireland, the local citizens begin disappearing almost immediately.  A pod of dead pilot whales washes up on the shore.  This just happens to coincide with the arrival of Garda Lisa Nolan, a career-oriented officer from the big city (Dublin) who chose to spend her vacation time picking up a different kind of policing experience while one of the village's two resident officers takes holiday.  The other officer, Garda CiarĂ¡n O'Shea is a self-pitying and self-loathing marginally-funtional alcoholic, and he treats her with open disdain.  Meet-cute achieved.

The rest of the cast is filled out with the tart and colorful locals in this one-pub town.  With the help of a daffy old fisherman, a gawky biologist and the pub owner, they figure out that they are threatened by blood-sucking multipods that need little more than water to live.  They eventually discover that alcohol is toxic to the creatures, and with a rain storm on the way (a lot sooner than help from the mainland), naturally the only thing to do is to keep the whole town safe with a grand lock-down piss-up!

Like the characteristic films of the 80s, Grabbers keeps it light even in the serious moments.  Each scene is infused with a tone of fun on one level or another.  Most characters know each other well, so they're able to have a playful jab at each other, and the visiting officer's lack of familiarity offers them the opportunity to take some advantage with what she doesn't know.  The music particularly enhances the spirit of classic Spielberg.  It's like John Williams mashed up with your standard Irish sounds and themes -- an urgent, brassy orchestra, with a few extra flutes and such.  It really keeps things moving.  When I first read about the movie, I thought it sounded a little bit like Shaun of the Dead with aliens.  Now, having seen it, I find myself recalling the likes of Jaws and Gremlins even more.

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