A bright, green light streaks across the sky off the coast of Ireland, landing somewhere in the sea near an isolated island. It has been spotted by the crew of a fishing trawler and they call it in to the coastguard in case someone is in trouble, and indeed someone is - they are. As they ponder their next move one of the fishermen is speared by a creature from the water and dragged beneath the waves, and then the rest of them follow suit, but what has fallen from space? What could possibly be strong enough to cause this danger? Local cop Ciarán O'Shea (Richard Coyle) is about to find out.
That is, once he recovers from his hangover, for this rural Garda is a borderline alcoholic, though what he doesn't know is this may be the saving grace of the tiny community as the menace takes hold. Often described as the Irish version of cult favourite Tremors, that description was not far off the truth, as it had the same sense of humour, strong characters, and monster palaver as the American effort, only with a personality from the other side of the Pond. Neither film was exactly a blockbuster, but you could see them attaining similar levels of regard even if Grabbers felt even less original than its predecessor did.
O'Shea isn't the only lawman on the island, as early on there is a new arrival from the mainland, Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley, best known to fans of T.V.'s sci-fi serial Primeval) who is there to take a break from the hubbub of Dublin and thinks this quiet area will be just the thing. Many's a disaster in horror movies which has begun with those very intentions, and so it is to no one's surprise except the characters' that soon there is a problem arising with the creatures which have invaded the beach, laying eggs with the bigger ones making inroads and draining the blood of the occasional islander they may meet there. Teaming up, O'Shea and Nolan look to be the best chance the population has.
Although it takes them a while to twig what is actually going on, visiting scientist Dr. Adam Smith (Russell Tovey) contributes to that when he first offers his observations on the dead whales washed up on the beach (are those bite marks?) and later when they capture an apparently dead example of the beast and take it to the lab. They never quite catch onto the idea that this could be extraterrestrial in origin, and in truth writer Kevin Lehane doesn't seem to be that interested anyway, leaving the greater proportion of the movie for the comedy and avoiding getting eaten thrills which in its modest manner turns out to be a wise move. With a small budget available, director Jon Wright and his team made what effects they could afford count.
Meanwhile the humour filled in the gaps that in a lesser horror movie would be timewasting antagonistic dialogue, but here might not have been pushing any boundaries, yet was no less enjoyable for that with an almost Ealing comedy sense of community if Ealing had ever made a monster flick. The main gimmick in this case was the method they discovered to put off the creatures from sucking the people dry of their blood, which may have been leaning on the old drunken Irish stereotypes but generated some decent-sized laughs. That's right, get drunk and it will put the horrors off feeding from you, leading to absurd scenes of the cops trying to persuade the islanders to stay inside the pub drinking free booze without alarming them unduly. If this was silly, it didn't stop everyone's dedication to the mix of gags and excitement as the inebriated by necessity characters try to keep their wits about them: Coyle and Bradley especially delivered a cheering double act for a small gem. Orchestral music by Christian Henson - a bit of class.