Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe to Empire!
Save up to 63%
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
We're looking for reporters for the BFI London Film Festival
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Richard Coyle
Ruth Bradley
Russell Tovey.
Jon Wright.
Kevin Lehane.
Running Time
94 minutes

4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
Intern, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Nightmare, The
3 Star Empire Rating

5 Star Empire Rating
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating

E.T. The (Tennents) Extra-Terrestrial

submit to reddit

A meteorite crashes into the sea off the coast of Ireland, and a space creature starts attacking local lifeforms. Garda Ciarán O’Shea (Coyle) and his supervisor Lisa Nolan (Bradley) discover that the monster has a particular weakness — it is allergic to alcohol.

An old-fashioned monster movie in the Roger Corman tradition, this has a decent CGI creature (mostly angry tentacles) besieging an isolated community (an island off the coast of Ireland) and a nice line in wry, self-deprecating humour. In an era when too many alien invaders crash-land in enormously budgeted, dreadfully written drudges like the Transformers films or Battleship, Grabbers comes with a smart, witty script from Kevin Lehane and characters you’d be interested in even if they were just having a skewed romance in a regular film without a homicidal alien squid.

UK TV stars Richard Coyle (Coupling) and Ruth Bradley (Primeval) are an interesting mismatched cop team — a semi-alcoholic who just wants a quiet life and a by-the-book martinet who wants to have all the forms filled in — but they also strike sparks off each other (“How much have you had?” “Not enough to fancy you.” “Well then, keep drinking”) in a fashion that suggests they’re destined to warm to each other if they survive the night. Respecting a British tradition of setting science-fiction movies in pubs, the set-piece is a monumental lock-in as the bickering islanders discover the man-eating monster can’t digest a drunk person so the only defence is to get bladdered.
Jon Wright directed the decent little teen horror film Tormented, but ups his game here. Grabbers manages a rare balance, playing character material lightly but taking its horrors seriously — with the possibility that a tentacle will swoop into frame at any moment and whip even a featured actor out to a nasty fate. Familiar faces like Russell Tovey (a biology boffin) and Bronagh Gallagher grab their own little moments in the busy story, and a fine array of seamed, battered, red-nosed, you-know-the-face bit-players add to the Irish atmos.

A near-irresistible Friday-night-out monster picture in the tradition of Lake Placid or Tremors, with a boozy Irish charm that makes it a distinctive addition to the catalogue of alien invasions.

Reviewed by Kim Newman

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Grabbers
Empire Star Rating

RE: Disappointing, was expecting more after I read the Empire review

Feels very derivative of many other horror monster comedies but I was still entertained. Not sure what kind of release this got, doesn't seem to be well known at all. ... More

Posted by rich at 20:24, 26 March 2013 | Report This Post

Disappointing, was expecting more after I read the Empire review

Good enough if you have a couple of hours to kill, but nothing more than that. I struggled to smile, let alone laugh. Was expecting more from the deliciously quirky Irish. 'Nuff said. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joannakanga at 15:40, 31 December 2012 | Report This Post


Was really looking forward to this, but nowhere near as funny, clever or entertaining as Tremors or Lake Placid. Performances were lazy, and the dialogue was horrendous. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sonofjor-el at 19:43, 28 December 2012 | Report This Post

This is a solid 4* film - funny, well-written & great cast with SFX that wouldn't look out of place in a big budget equivalent. Such a shame it got such a limited cinema release this week (no London screenings at all outside of Frightfest in August) but hopefully makes an impact on DVD now. Have to say, out of the 50+ films seen this year, Grabbers was one of about 4 I've actually ordered on DVD - hell of a lot of fun. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jencat at 11:13, 27 December 2012 | Report This Post

fun fun fun!

I laughed a lot. Loved all the nods and winks to other monster movies. Rooted for the main characters, what more could you want from a creature feature :) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sephiroth7 at 10:18, 15 December 2012 | Report This Post

Finally a review of this film thats not a 3 star cop out!

Saw this one at Grimmfest and loved it! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the moody monkey at 17:59, 14 December 2012 | Report This Post

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

Jessica Chastain On The Martian
On becoming an astronaut and rescuing Matt Damon AGAIN

My Movie Life: Justin Kurzel
The Macbeth director on how Rocky changed his life and the worst ever date movie

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

Hallowed Ground: Folk Horror In British Film
Ten tales from our island's dark past

All Hail Macbeth! The Scottish Play On Film
By the pricking of our thumbs, ten adaptations this way come(s)

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)