Grabbers  is an entertaining creature feature with an Irish twist

by Mark Burger

With a sly script by Kevin Lehane and knowing direction by Jon Wright, the award-winning Grabbers is an entertaining monster mash with a snappy tongue-in-cheek sensibility. Comedy and horror make strange bedfellows, but in this instance the combination has yielded a surefire cult contender.

This tale of an alien invasion borrows from, and pays homage to, any Onsale number of sources — Stephen King, HP Lovecraft, Thisthe 1990 cult hit Tremors, the lesser Friday 1982 cult hit The Deadly Spawn, etc. — as it rolls pleasingly through prime horror territory, affectionately steeped in Irish stereotypes and sensibilities.

The titular beasties show up and begin killing the residents of a small island off the coast of Ireland. Most of the inhabitants make their living fishing, but now they’re the ones being reeled in. The roiling, unearthly and toothy tentacles grab, kill and devour — when they’re not laying eggs on the beach, that is. Some are big, some are small, all are deadly.

Richard Coyle (quintessential boozer) and Ruth Bradley (quintessentially by-the-book) play the cops on the case, first trying to figure out why the island’s population is decreasing so rapidly — and bloodily — before taking a desperate stab at trying to conquer the menace before it conquers them.

Aiding in their efforts while providing steady comedic patter are Russell Tovey as an unflappable doctor and Lalor Roddy as the island’s resident boozehound (named “Paddy,” of course), who inadvertently provides them with the key to vanquishing the monsters. It seems that these alien beings have an averse reaction to alcohol, so of course the safest place to be is the local pub and the safest condition to be in is soused.

It’s no surprise how it all turns out, nor is it a surprise that there’s an obligatory trick ending hinting at further horrors to come. Such is the game of horror, and Grabbers plays it with laughs aplenty.

Grabbers is scheduled to open Friday at the Geekhouse Coffeehouse Cinema in Greensboro

LOG ONTO — click on the “Flicks” section. Then go to “What’s Showing”