Grabbers (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 18-Apr-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy / Horror Audio Commentary-Crew, including the director, writer, composer & DOP.
Interviews-Crew-Director Jon Wright
Isolated Musical Score
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Outtakes
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 93:51 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jon Wright
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Richard Coyle
Ruth Bradley
Russell Tovey
Lalor Roddy
David Pearse
Bronagh Gallagher
Pascal Scott
Clelia Murphy
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Christian Henson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Something very strange is happening on Erin Island. The crew of a fishing boat are killed by something unseen, the beach is strewn with horribly mutilated pilot whales, and Paddy (Lalor Roddy) has caught something very unusual in a lobster trap that is certainly no lobster, and taken it home to put in the bath tub. Large eggs are found upon the beach, and people are going missing. In the midst of this, Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) arrives on the island for a two week secondment to work with Garda Ciaran O’Shea (Richard Coyle), who himself has a great liking for a drink or five.

     When Paddy returns home, he is attacked by a creature with numerous tentacles. He manages to stun it and takes it to the lab of marine ecologist Dr. Adam Smith (Russell Tovey) to be studied. He proclaims it to be something totally new, but it quickly becomes obvious that what they have is just a small female creature, and that there is a much larger, and more deadly blood, sucking monster on the island! They also discover that the monsters are allergic to alcohol tainted blood. With the island cut off by a huge storm, the only solution is to gather the islanders into the village pub, get roaring drunk and defend their island from the monsters.

     Grabbers starts with a bang, with an asteroid crashing into the sea and the killing, by something unseen, of the fishermen who investigate. It then settles in to increase the tension slowly and to allow us to get to know and like the main characters. We do not get to see the first, smaller, creature until 25 minutes into the film, and the big monster is not shown for an hour. The CGI effects are good, but are not overdone and never overwhelm the storytelling with effects for effects sake. The result is a story which is allowed to concentrate upon its likeable characters; most are good fun, especially Russell Tovey as the up-tight Smith plus pub owner Brian Maher (David Pearse) and his wife Una (Bronagh Gallagher), while the developing relationship between O’Shea and Lisa is funny and sweet. Indeed, this is a very funny film, with some great comic moments, such as the scene with the baby creatures going wild in the bar! The film also includes some good dialogue such as this exchange between Una and Lisa: “A storm is coming. How do you know – are the birds flying low? No, it was on the tellie”.

     Grabbers certainly includes the required shocks and scary moments, especially in the earlier sequences where the monster is suggested by the sound design and glimpses of something alien, and the creature action when it happens is loud and furious. Yet, first and foremost Grabbers is a comedy, and a good one, with sci-fi and horror elements thrown in. This one really is a hoot!

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Grabbers is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This was a smallish budget film shot using digital cameras and the print reflects this. Detail is sharp and crisp and the film frequently looks beautiful with wonderful glossy colours and widescreen images of the Irish landscape, hills and beaches. In action sequences the image is less clear due to the use of rapidly moving hand held cameras, and it does get queasy at times. Blacks are good, shadow detail excellent.

     The print shows minimal ghosting, no obvious digital noise reduction and marks and artefacts are absent. Contrast and brightness do vary, sometimes markedly depending upon the light source, and sometimes the image can be quite glary. Skin tones also varied, sometimes looking yellowish.

     There are no subtitles.

     The video is varied, although this does not spoil the viewing experience.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The feature audio is English DTS-MA HD 5.1, and there is an audio commentary track.

     The dialogue throughout the film is clear if not always understandable because of some of the accents. I am sure that nothing important is lost, but subtitles would have been a help. The sound design is what one would expect in a monster movie: the surrounds are filled with ambient sound and music and come alive during the creature attacks with crashes, roars and screams filling the sound stage. The subwoofer adds ambient bass to support the tension, the creature roars and adds to the explosion at the end.

     The music score by Christian Henson had an Irish flavour with use of a violin, but this was not overdone and it also included some good orchestral themes. It worked well in the action scenes, but sometimes felt too loud in quieter moments when little was happening, which is more an issue of the sound mix than the quality of the music.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The audio track is good and does what is required of a monster movie.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary

     This is a crew commentary anchored by director Jon Wright in edited conversations with Paddy Eason (visual effects supervisor), Jeremy Price (sound designer), Kevin Lehane (writer), Christian Henson (composer) and Trevor Forrest (cinematographer). There is some technical information, general discussion, in-jokes, chatter and discussion about influences. There are worse commentaries around and this one is worth a listen.

Feature Score

     Just on a hour of the film’s score by Christian Henson. The film itself is not shown and the screen is blank except for the title of the piece being played. There are 20 separate sections / themes, but no menu that allows quick access to particular themes. A nice extra, however.

Trailer (0:59)

Interview with Director Jon Wright (15:44)

     Alan Jones (Film 4) chats with Wright before FrightFest 2012. They cover the film’s special effects, the cast, playing drunk and being drunk, and influences upon the film. Light hearted and fun.

Behind the Scenes (16:06)

     Pretty much an EPK with some film and behind the scenes footage plus interviews with Jon Wright (director), cast Russell Tovey, Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Lalor Roddy, plus the writer, producers, VFX supervisors, D.O.P., and stunt co-ordinator. Topics covered include the script, casting, effects, stunts and challenges, especially the weather which looked cold and terrible! Some interesting stuff, but the sound levels do vary.

Outtakes (25:21)

     A collection of goofs, adlibs, cut scenes, alternative takes, some with video and sound issues, others with equipment visible, without introduction or commentary. There is a general section first, then sections on O’Shea, Lisa, Lisa & O’Shea, Plotting the Plan, Planning the Plot and The Lab. Occasionally amusing, but goes on far too long.

Photo Gallery (7:58)

     This extra is nicely done. A range of photos, including on set and behind the scenes stills, advance automatically about every 3 seconds while the film music plays.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is no current Blu-ray release of Grabbers in the US. The Region B UK release is identical to ours in technical specs and extras, but does include English subtitles.

Summary

     Grabbers is a hoot. It is a comedy / sci-fi / monster film that includes the required shocks and scary moments and some good CGI effects, but first and foremost it is a very funny film with great comic moments.

     The video is variable, the audio good, and there is a range of mostly worthwhile extras rounding out a good Blu-ray package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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