Directed by Jon Wright. Starring Ruth Bradley, Richard Coyle, Russell Tovey, Bronagh Gallagher, David Pearse 15A cert, general release, 94 min
GO-GETTER relief garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) arrives on the ferry just as all hell breaks loose on a remote Donegal-ish island. There’s a palpable, odd- couple chemistry between the young woman and local layabout senior officer O’Shea (Richard Coyle), a jaded soul with a permanent hangover, and the locals are endearingly eccentric.
However, before our by-the-book heroine can settle into her duties and cosy up to her colleague, the village is besieged by marauding alien sea monsters. Can she survive the extra-terrestrial onslaught? And will she come good at the local lock-in, an event that requires everyone to “really tear the arse off it” as David Pearse puts it?
If you’ve ever wondered what might have happened if JM Synge and Roger Corman had made a movie together, then wonder no more. Director Jon Wright’s lively monster mash, a puree of Whisky Galore, Father Ted and Mars Attacks!, performs a deft wire walk across genres, irony and paddywhackery.
Will Grabbers buck Ireland’s, ahem, inverted love affair with indigenous film? Well, if it doesn’t pack out cinemas, then Irish-based film is in serious trouble. This surefooted creature feature comes pre-sprung with accolades: the picture has been scooped up for distribution by Sony in the UK and by (our hipster senses are tingling) IFC Midnight in the US. It’s picked up rave notices from our British chums. Even before the shoot, Kevin Lehane’s speculative screenplay made the 2009 Brit List.
A pedant might point out that none of the cast – not even Bronagh Gallagher – sound northern enough for the presumed locale. But this, as Christian Henson’s swooping score and Trevor Forrest’s glossy lensing announce, is not really Ireland, but the movieverse. Like Zonad, Grabbers is proud to be B, but where the Carney Brothers’ film revelled in its tinfoil SFX, Wright’s sci-fi spectacle is just that.
Sure enough, this fun, lavish- looking British-Irish co-production comes replete with nifty, tentacled beasties.