Film scores

Soundtrack review: Grabbers (Christian Henson – 2015)

grabbers

 

“Grabbers” is an alien invasion film set on a small island off the coast of Ireland. This is a horror movie with a comedic twist, because apparently the blood thirsty aliens can’t tolerate alcohol. This probably means the island residents have a chance of survival as long as they keep the invaders drunk. MovieScore Media released this score together with Christian Henson’s new composition for “Robot Overlords”.

The opening of “Grabbers” is believable and it reminds me of the sound of movies from 30 years ago. It has that horror / Sci-fi vibe that welcomes us into the score with an almost carnival like smile. Come in, come in… we’re not sure you’ll get out but look how pretty things look on “Erin Island”. Since the story takes place off the coasts of Ireland it’s natural that we get some Celtic fairytale vibes. The clarity and sweetness of the sound comes from the composer’s childhood memories. He approached many parts of this score as homage to his childhood movie heritage. The music is honest and I believe it. And as a Celtic music fan I love those inserts.

The horror parts have that smile in the corner of their mouths which tell me that I shouldn’t take them 100% seriously. I remarked the same note in Danny Elfman’s “Men in Black” scores. Yes the music is aggressive and scary but there’s always something that tells me “this is an exaggeration”. I like that sound.

I didn’t expect an alien invasion score to put me in a good mood. But I can’t help but smile at a cue like “Lobster pot”. If I hadn’t read the synopsis of the movie I could have bet the score was written for an animation film. The composer took the freedoms that an animated story usually allows and ran with them for this movie. He let his imagination flow and this only benefitted the listening experience. Everything seems a big exaggerated as if seen or heard through the eyes of children. Or maybe everything is seen and felt through the eyes of the alien invaders. Their contact with this new civilization is at time scary, at times charming because of the land and at times it makes them curious.

The more I listen to “Grabbers” the more I think of Danny Elfman. This score is written in the same style and parts of it could work on Tim Burton movie. Still Christian Henson’s music is more tender and sensitive. I can relate better to it. The music is quite charming at times and it makes me fantasize. “A tender moment” is quite the magical moment. The lighter side wins in this score anyway.

And this is what “Grabbers” will leave me with: moments. As a whole it doesn’t tell me a story but I found enough enjoyable moments, most of them Celtic related. I usually find it harder to connect with comedic scores even when the story is science fiction so Christian Henson’s music did more than enough to grab me. I was never bored because he kept things interesting and diverse. The magical moments were a bonus and they will make me return to this score. I enjoyed this more than “Robot overlords”.

Cue rating: 83 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 25 / 63

Album excellence: 40%

Highlights:

Erin Island

A Tender Moment

The Lab

Jumpers

Mayhem at the Mine

Jumpers in the Bar

Nolan the Hero

Finale

A company of drunks

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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