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'Grabbers': Drunk guys fight off an alien invasion

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Grabbers

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"Grabbers" is one of those movies that's succinctly summed up in just one sentence: drunk guys fight off an alien invasion. So of course it takes place in Ireland.

Garda Ciarán O'Shea (Richard Coyle) is an alcoholic with a sad past; he's teamed up with an attractive new partner, Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley). It seems Nolan has taken the assignment to prove herself and climb the ranks. It doesn't take long before they discover something strange going on at the island in the form of mutilated whale corpses. And that strange thing is aliens.

Some thought went into creating these aliens. They're starfish-like creatures who have a brachiolaria stage of larval development -- they're cute little worms who make squeaky sounds and will chew your face off. But as adults they're massive hulks that roll along like a floppy wheel on their many legs, akin to the wheeler spider. And oh yeah, they can't stand the taste of alcohol. Which is quite the plus when you own a bar.

O'Shea and Nolan assemble a crack team of experts to fight the so-called "grabbers," including town drunk Paddy (Lalor Roddy), marine ecologist Dr. Smith (Russel Tovey), and pub owner Tadhg Murphy (Louis Dempsey) to execute a madcap plan: they invite all the residents of the town to celebrate an oncoming storm in Murphy's pub. O'Shea stays sober to defend the pub while the villagers get plastered. What could possibly go wrong?

The biggest challenge for the rest of the humans is not the grabbers but their extreme intoxication. They do stupid things -- things that everybody does in horror movies, but at least now they have an excuse -- that leads them right into the grabbers. It's hilariously stupid.

If the film has a flaw, it's the very awkward, not very believable romance between O'Shea and Nolan. O'Shea's a drunk because of a tragic past, you see, which makes the uptight Nolan -- who just needs to get drunk to loosen up -- see the light. Grabbers escalates as its monsters get more bold until it ends up with a clichéd standoff that involves explosions. But if "Grabbers" biggest problem is that it concludes with a satisfying boom...it's hard to fault it too much.

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