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“Grabbers” – First impressions from the Sundance sci-fi hit


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By Jordan Hoffman

There are two things that always bring a smile to my eyes: murderous space aliens and drunken Irishmen. “Grabbers,” a delightful little romp playing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is surely the first movie ever to have both.

A streak of light shoots through the night sky which spells mysterious doom for a witnessing fishing boat. The next day, slashed whales appear on the beach of Erin Island, a tiny rock off the coast of Ireland. As it happens, it’s the same day the police chief takes a vacation, so filling his shoes is a straitlaced woman named Garda (Officer) Nolan. All she really needs to do is keep an eye on things til the boss is back, something the town’s well-meaning but frequently drunk second cop, O’Shea, probably couldn’t handle on his own.

Elsewhere on the beach are what looks like giant pearls, but anyone who’s ever seen a creature feature knows they are eggs. Soon, little slippery slugs with sharp teeth begin popping up, followed by bigger tentacled cuttlefish monsters until, finally, we meet a big-ass beast with a taste for blood.

But there’s a twist and its one that pushes “Grabbers” into the category of a true original. The only one who survives an initial encounter with one of these creatures is the local drunk Paddy. Turns out that the one thing that these aliens can’t abide is blood with a high alcohol content. Oh, the irony! Of all the places to plop down to from space and they had to pick Ireland!

With a big storm brewing and the town needing to bunker for the night, there’s only one way to survive: drink. For the love of all that’s green, drink.

There’s a lot to love in “Grabbers.” As is usually the case with stories set in Ireland, there are a host of wonderful side characters, as well as great moments of swearing and arguing. Unfortunately it takes a little while for Grabbers to get into a groove, but once it does there’s no turning back. There are some missed opportunities in the film (I thought for sure once the jukebox accidentally came on and Garda Nolan had a nail gun we were ready for a full on Sam Raimi experience) but the action, while good, never achieves the level of mind-blowing.

The love story feels a wee bit forced, but you’ll still be cheering when our drunken male lead and stuck-up female lead learn to accept/shirk a little responsibility and meet in the middle. You’ll also leave the theater wishing you could head to the nearest Irish pub to sing “Whiskey In A Jar” and take a long sip on a pint of Guinness.

Will you be checking out “Grabbers”? Let us know in the comments below.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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