The opening film selected for Toronto After Dark this year was the Irish Sundance hit, Grabbers! Directed by Jon Wright, this little comedic gem had its Toronto premiere at the festival last night, and seemed to be the perfect film to set the tone for a festival that’s now known to boast “blood, beasts, and beer” for its major themes! Grabbers gleefully hits all of those marks – and so much more!
The film is a monster comedy set in the fictional island village of Erin, where nothing much ever seems to happen. It seems like the perfect working-getaway for straight-laced Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley), who accepts a temporary position on the island as partner to Garda Ciaran O’Shea (Richard Coyle) when his superior goes on vacation for a few weeks. When a strange object crashes in the ocean off the island’s nearby coast, however, things start to get strange very quickly in the little town – and immediately turn into a deadly threat.
From an entire pod of beached whales to a strange tentacled creature caught up in a lobster trap, it’s not long before O’Shea and Nolan have bodies on their hands and an ecological mystery to solve. They enlist the help of local scientist, Dr. Adam Smith (the always wonderful and hilarious Russell Tovey) to see if the nature of the tentacled creature can be discovered, and come to learn that – not only is it unlike anything ever before seen on Earth – but that there are more of them out there, and that one in particular is very, very large. And it’s looking for its mate.
The creatures seem to have no real weakness – they feed on blood and need water to survive, so naturally a huge storm is rolling in, which will give the giant male creature free reign over the town, unless they can find a way to stop it. It’s almost by accident that the hapless group stumbles upon a possible salvation for the entire town – the creatures seem to have a lethal allergy to alcohol. So what’s a village of poor Irish folk to do? Why, throw a party at the local pub and get the entire town good and pickled for the night!
Grabbers is easily some of the most fun I’ve had at the theatre in a good long while, and it really was the perfect choice by founder and programmer, Adam Lopez, to start off this year’s fest with a rowdy, raucous bang! The opening short film Not Till We’re Married (Shannon Rae Hanmer) was a hilariously uncomfortable look at Internet dating, which set us up for the ridiculous good time that is Grabbers! This film hit all the right notes - from the brilliant acting to the little visual gags; and from the unexpected one-liners to the actually-sorta-terrifying main monster – Grabbers has everything I was hoping for and more! It’s a fitting tribute to the monster movies of yore, but is also very much its own unique entry into the “blood, beasts and beer” cannon that fans new and old can love for years to come. Add in some breath-taking Irish landscape, and Lalor Roddy perfectly cast as Paddy Barrett, and you’ve got yourself a winner! Get caught up by Grabbers! You’ll be glad you did!
Check our more on Grabbers here:
Official Movie Site with trailer!