By Kelan Young

Mailed on March 06, 2014

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StarStarStarStarHalf Star

Dear Kelly Valentine Hendry
Casting Director

Dear Kelly,

At the risk of starting things off on the wrong foot, I must admit that the finer details of the casting process escape me. I have an image in my head of an assembly line of nervous actors hesitantly reading from a script while every few seconds a brusque voice interrupts: "Thank you! Next!" But I know it's something a little more complex. So I imagine, when it came time to hold auditions for Grabbers, you must have been faced with the additional challenge of not only casting men and women who were a natural fit for each part, but who would be able to convincingly act drunk for nearly the entire third act--and do it without compromising any of their natural charisma.

See, this could have easily been a terrible, terrible movie. The cast could have easily refused to take the screenplay's key concept - alien sea creatures with a lethal allergy to alcohol - as seriously as they needed to. They could have chosen instead to unleash their inner vulgarians and turned the whole thing (especially the climatic pub siege) into an obnoxious, unfunny nightmare of Happy Madison proportions. But they didn't. And it was all because of your casting. You really have assembled one of the most likeable genre film casts I've seen in years.

Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley are outstanding as two constantly at-odds police officers; they share a chemistry that hearkens back to the Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward in Tremors, which is also a clear inspiration for this film's structure (not that I'm complaining, mind you; if anything, we need more movies cut from the Tremors mold). Bradley, in particular, deserves special mention. Her straight-laced and strictly-by-the-book character becomes drunk for possibly the first time ever, and she displays absolutely amazing comedic timing, almost stealing the entire show.

I really don't know how you did it, but every other character - even relatively minor ones - just feel so…right. From the husband and wife tavern owners, to the I-can't-believe-it's-not-Colin-Hanks marine biologist, to the crusty town drunk--every member of the cast leaves such a positive impression that I didn't want a single person to die (which is odd, considering my normally bloodthirsty nature).

Which brings me to what I perhaps enjoyed the most about Grabbers: the relatively low body count. Sure, there will be those who think that having so many left standing by the end is a fault, that it somehow makes everything they saw less worthwhile. But this isn't that type of movie. It isn't interested in asking you to invest in characters only to violently take them away;. And that's quite refreshing in an age when every horror movie aspires to be as gritty and hardcore as possible. Grabbers is just so engaging, and has such an infectious sense of fun, that one can even overlook the lack of real scares. Save, of course, for when the enormous "King" grabber attacks that hapless couple about midway through the film.

I think the greatest compliment I can offer you is that if the monsters were completely removed from this movie, the actors would still be appealing enough to get me all the way through to the end. And that's definitely thanks to you.




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