Brian Henry Martin at the movies

Grab A Great New Irish Movie

Published Thursday, 09 August 2012
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Fancy some monster craic on the big screen? Well, my favourite film of the summer so far does not have a caped crusader as the hero but two intrepid Garda officers.

Officers who happen to be fighting blood sucking aliens on the West coast of Ireland.

Many movies will arrive in our cinemas with greater fanfare but very few will be more fun than Grabbers.

The film begins with a unidentified flying object blazing across the Irish night sky and crash landing in the Atlantic Ocean. A local fishing boat goes to investigate but unfortunately for them they end up as the catch of the day for an invasion of malignant monsters from outer space.

Enter rookie cop Lisa Nolan (played by Ruth Bradley) who's been transferred from inner city Dublin to the beautiful but remote Erin Island. Her new partner in crime is the resident heavy drinking lawman Ciaran O'Shea (played by Richard O'Coyle). He is a world weary alcoholic while she is a straight laced workaholic but together they make an engaging and dynamic double act.

Strange goings on soon engulf the normally sleepy island; whales wash up dead on the beach and locals disappear at an alarming rate. Leading the motley crew of villagers is liquored up lobsterman Paddy Barrett (Lalor Roddy) who captures one of the tentacled critters in his trap. "A grabber" he tells the Guards "I discovered it, I get to name it. " Grabbers it is, and grab they do, wrapping themselves around the faces of their victims before downing their blood.

But only in Ireland would hitting the bottle win the battle as the lethal repellant to these space invaders is booze, the more you drink, the safer you are.

So Garda officers O'Shea and Nolan rally the villagers, arm the troops and head for the pub to get absolutely and totally langered. Joining them in a round or ten are jolly pub landlords Brian and Una Maher (David Pearse and Bronagh Gallagher), merry marine scientist Dr Adam Smith (Russell Tovey) and the poleaxed priest, Father Potts (Michael O'Gruagain).

But topping the list of great movie drunks is the rubbered Ruth Bradley whose legless performance as teetotal Garda Nolan, getting drunk as a skunk, is paralytic perfection.

This close encounter of the pub kind is one of the many things to enjoy in this delightfully dark comic adventure. Filmed in Belfast and Donegal, the cast, the cinematography and special effects are all surprisingly out of this world. Director Jon Wright evokes the very best monster movies including Jaws, Gremlins and An American Werewolf In London. The sharp script by Kevin Lehane has stonking set pieces and hilarious one-liners. "I just wanted to write something that I would go and see myself" explained the screenwriter "I asked myself would you go and watch this on a Friday night first weekend that it's out, even if it's raining? My answer was 'yeah I would'".

And I urge you to do the same, you will not be disappointed.

Grabbers (Cert 15) is now on general release.

© UTV News
B. H. Martin
B. H. Martin

Brian Henry Martin is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and UTV's resident film critic, appearing regularly on UTV Live Tonight.

No matter what the film, there's a good chance Brian has seen it.


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