Monday, July 01, 2013

Vamp or Not? Grabbers

If you think your vampires should be, at the very least, humanoid you may want to give this ‘Vamp or Not?’ a skip, but this alien creature feature has hallmarks of the vampiric within and was deserving of a ‘Vamp or Not?’ in my opinion.

It was a 2012 film directed by Jon Wright, most definitely a quirky comedy and set on Erin Island, off the coast of Eire. With a whole load of talent in front of the camera, I can tell you at the start that it’s a cracking film but the question remains – which we shall now explore – is it Vamp?

Well if it is, it is an alien vampire. The first scenes of the film show us a peculiarly green comet streaking through the sky. What was it? Meteor, creature trapped in ice, ship… we never know. What we do know is that a fishing trawler mistakes it for an unknown distress flair and investigates. There are three men in the crew but they don’t last long. We don’t see what kills them.

O'Shea and Lisa
A ferry brings Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) over to the island. She is going on a two week posting. She is collected from the ferry by the very hungover (and probably still very drunk) Garda Ciarán O'Shea (Richard Coyle). His boss is going away for a holiday and believes that O’Shea won’t be able to cope. She is very professional, he never met a bottle he didn’t like, and the chemistry between the two of them becomes central to the film’s charm.

Lisa, O'Shea and Smith
After O'Shea declares that nothing ever happens on the island, they are called to a beach where a pod of pilot whales have beached – they are all dead, lacerated and ex-sanguinated. English marine biologist Dr. Adam Smith (Russell Tovey, Being Human) confirms they all died at sea and then washed up. Whilst O’Shea gets local scrap yard owner Declan Cooney (Ned Dennehy) to clear the carcasses we see local fisherman Paddy Barrett (Lalor Roddy) who is showing the oddity he has caught in his lobster pot to a friend, it sprays in the friend's face.

decoy body
As sun sets the last of the whales are taken away. One of the workers goes to retrieve his tools and finds some strange round stones (eggs). Suddenly something grabs him and drags him to the sea. Cooney goes looking for him. As night falls a rainstorm starts, the fisherman who got sprayed in the face is watching Night of the Living Dead when there is a banging at the door. It is Cooney and he appears drunk, dancing and then he falls. As the man goes to check on him something gets him from the roof. His wife is got via the chimney. Cooney was dead, used like a puppet - which shows more than animal intelligence.

Male Grabber
As things progress we discover that the small grabber that Paddy has is a female and the other is a massive mass of tentacles and is male. There are many, many eggs. They subsist on blood, a stinger on their tongue piercing the victim, the tongue itself hollow to draw the blood. When Smith looks at the female he can’t say (despite it having been beaten by Paddy) whether it is alive or dead. It is certainly dormant. He discovers that it only needs blood and water to survive and even after beating and setting fire to, the female leaves dormancy when wet enough.

female grabber vomits blood
They also discover that they are highly allergic to alcohol and with a storm cutting the island off and threatening a deluge (the grabbers can move on land in the rain) there is only one answer… a lock-in at the island’s pub. So, Vamp? Well, in terms of alien vampires then yes. They need blood to feed on. They appear at night because the sun would dry them out. They show a level of intelligence (a scene with baby grabbers was reminiscent of the film Gremlins by the way). The fact that they cannot be classed as alive or dead was interesting from a vampiric perspective also. The V word is used in film but around genus and in respect to vampire squid.

Smith and the grabber
This is a pure creature feature with a devilish sense of humour and impressive performances all round. The grabbers are a combination of physical effect and cgi and work really well. Well worth checking out.

The imdb page is here.

Check out the movie poster below as it is something special:

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