Pad­dy­mon­ster­whack­ery

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews -

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, odd­cou­ple 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, lav­ishlook­ing British-Ir­ish co-pro­duc­tion comes re­plete with nifty, ten­ta­cled beast­ies.

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