A bunch of drunks evading aliens directed by a guy whose surname is Wright. It might look like a very quick-timed ripoff of The World’s End, but this is just as fun, only it knows it’s holding its own on a much smaller scale. It’s just someone else having a go at a similar (but honestly not identical) concept. As soon as I heard the very obvious Wilhelm Scream(s?) 3 minutes in, I knew this was going to be a cheeky bit of naff.
First off, there’s some damn fine scenery; the film’s set on a small Irish island. Think sweeping coastlines, medieval walls, cobblestones, and yes, lots of alcoholics. Of which our main character, Garda (Policeman) Ciarán O’Shea (Andy Serkis lookalike Richard Coyle) is one. And he’s paired up with typically strait-laced former gritty city cop Garda Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley). The two are called to look at some mangled, beached-up whales, but when a fisherman is “grabbed” into the ocean (by a monster so invisible that the film’s budget sighed with relief), they soon discover that there’s a greater, inhuman threat, and the mismatched pair are tasked with saving humanity in between their probably sexual bickering.
Possibly owing to my patronising xenophilia (yes, philia), I already think that the Irish have very distinct personalities that translate enormously well onto screen. So they could have gotten a bunch of nobodies for some of the bit parts and I wouldn’t have known – everybody just acts so natural. Even for a rural couple who are trying to figure out if their neighbour Clooney is dancing or being used as bait one rainy night. And it’s probably because of this instant cinematic familiarity that we feel bad for each and every day player that meets a rather nasty fate.
Because of the nature of the “Grabbers”, they’re not seen much – at first. They come from out of nowhere to snatch their victims, so a situation like this would appear all but hopeless when the shit starts grabbing at the fan. Especially when our drunken Garda is at the forefront of the action and looks like our best shot for salvation. Hopeless! Or! Maybe not! Turns out that, after some scienceing, it’s determined that being drunk wards off these monsters, like some kind of paralytic, piss-your-pants alien repellent.
And so we see yet another excellent excuse for an entire cast to be completely pissed out of sheer necessity. It’s a fresher student’s dream. I’m afraid this is my guilty comedy pleasure. Some people love toilet humour; I have a soft spot for when characters get drunk or high and stumble about daftly making poor verbal and physical decisions. Pissed-up pratfalls.
It’s a surprisingly well-made film; it doesn’t have terribly witty lines (who needs ’em when you have hilariously merry drunks?), but it’s got some pretty impressive SFX (though the baby grabbers look like jelly in ladies’ tights on puppet strings), and some warm performances, including a deliciously sharp, deadpan turn from Being Human and Sherlock marvel Russel Tovey, poshing it up as the local Scientist Who Helps Figure Things Out. Meanwhile, Bradley’s screams are truly the worst thing you’ll hear. Ever. It’s not really a flick that requests repeat viewings. It’s the sort of movie you’d happily enjoy watching a group as utterly sloshed as the characters. There’s even a drinking game for it. Though there’s probably a drinking game for everything.