I’m a big fan of Irish film, but if I did have to be critical it’s home grown Irish movies are all a bit samey. They always look Irish and they just have that feeling to them, and while theres nothing wrong with that, at times they seem a bit stuck in a loop. With a hotbed of talent, I personally believe that for the Irish industry to evolve it needs to stop hanging its hat on the Irish thing. After all, Hollywood doesn’t hang its hat on “An American” film. Enter Grabbers. A turning point if ever there was one.
Written by Kevin Lehane, this is a monster movie that just happens to be set in a small fishing village off the West Coast of Ireland. After a local fisherman snares a young “sea monster” in his net, the locals discover that they’re not alone on the Island as people and body parts start to go missing. While the locals themselves are on the menu for the Grabbers, the human delicacy can be a bit of a double edged sword. So is it a case of grabbing a water pistol flame thrower? A nail gun? A hurley? Sort of, but the best line of defence for the locals to get absolutely shit faced. Our multi limbed lunatic monsters don’t handle their alcohol quite well, and if they consume it, they croak. Hence everyone gets shit faced. Because shit faced means you won’t be eaten.
Directed by Jon Wright, the first thing that will strike you about Grabbers is how "non-Irish” the thing looks. Sure the cinematography is wonderful and at times is really beautifully composed with sweeping oceanic vistas (that’ll keep the tourist board happy), but its the sense of movement here which elevates Grabbers up a notch or three. This is rather geeky, but the camera movement in particular is brilliant. And this is one of the main reasons it doesn’t feel like an Irish made movie. It moves like something that was shot by a major Hollywood production. One of the other reasons is the visual effects. For a low budget film, this has genuinely big budget visual effects. The creature design, while inspired from likes of Alien is again a sight to behold. And while you might expect a couple of tightly edited sequences with the Gabbers themselves, expect the opposite. When they’re on screen, they take up the whole screen, lunging, spluttering and consuming. Testament to a great visual effects and a huge nod of confidence from the director.
So, while the movie doesn’t seem like an Irish movie per sé, that isn’t enough to make Grabbers a good movie. So, is it any good? Well, it absolutely is. In fact, its terrific. With one notable exception, the pace here is pretty full on and there is quite alot of bang for your buck for 90 odd minutes. The cast are fantastic, oozing humour, chemistry and enough likeability to have a Hallmark day named after them. Pascal Scott, Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley in particular are superb. Theres no shortage of laugh out loud moments here and it has the greatest tribute to Aliens that you’re ever likely to see outside of James Cameron's original. Just wait for the line!!!!!
Overall Grabbers is a genuine turning point for Irish cinema in look and style. That aside, as a movie its hilarious, incredibly well written and superbly shot and offers a great nights entertainment. Truly Tentacular!!!!! Check it out from August 10th!