Toronto After Dark, Day 1: Grabbers
Take one part generic monster flick, one part goofball comedy, mix in three parts of Irish whiskey, and what do you have? The recipe for the Toronto After Dark opening film, Grabbers.
This is a film that is not particularly concerned with having a plot that makes much sense, or characters that make particularly believable decisions. What it is concerned with is having a lot of fun as it bops along, and in that it succeeds admirably.
At its core, it never strays too far from your typical humourous monster movie template. You have the alien that crashes down from space, and starts killing random countryfolk. You have the cast of unwitting heroes, all minor variations on the stereotypes, but close enough to check the appropriate checkboxes. You have a lot of poor decision making.
What sets this apart is its over-the-top nature, never going too far past the line of absurdity, and some really great performances. Richard Coyle, who I thought was unconvincing when I reviewed him in Pusher, is much more in his comfort zone here as the alcoholic, somewhat goofy male lead. As for the female lead, although I don’t recall seeing her in anything previously, I sort of fell in love with Ruth Bradley, both for her hilarious drunken acting and a scene involving a nail gun.
It’s also worth noting that the production value here are unexpectedly high, with the CG used for the aliens being impressively realistic.
All in all, a fantastic start to the festival, and something I can easily to recommend to anyone who wants to grab a beer, and watch a film. With beer.
3.5 out of 5 stars.