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Film Four Stars
Grabbers is a British comedy science-fiction, words that together usually spell a dodgy start for a film. Usually that means an unsubtle, stock and mostly not that funny comedy that just happens to have a lot of gore in it. There have been some really good mixes of the genre though, but there followed a spate of copies which sullied a good thing.

Grabbers enters that mix of genresand had me expecting something average if not less than mediocre butI was wrong and Grabbers manages to mix the different elements well and deliver a very enjoyable and rather funny film.

Wait though, I feel like I'm at the end before I've started.

Plot.pngGrabbers.jpgOn a small Irish island a relief Garda arrives to help out while the Sergeant is away, mainly because his deputy who would be left in charge is a functioning alcoholic, a barely functioning one at that.

The new Garda is not the only arrival though as the night before a strange meteorite crashed in the sea and brought with it an altogether more frightening visitor to the island.

When the new arrivals make it to the island the two Garda must band together to protect the villagers and it's not long before they discover there's only one way to beat the creature and it's a way that Garda Ciarán O'Shea would love to go, that is if he didn't have to stay sober and protect everyone else.

TheFilm.pngWhen the film started I was surprised because it seemed to be delivering a rather slick and potentially dark science fiction film, it actually has shades of some of the films that have a much larger scale and budget and not ones that are billed as comedies. I thought we were in for a big surprise. However after these opening scenes the story turns to the characters and changes pace somewhat. From here the film allows more humour to creep in developing more of a comedy element to the story, but it does trickle in at a nice pace.

This is one of the aspects I particularly liked about the film is that it doesn't leap all the way in to one genre, it doesn't become a science fiction film and neither does it become an all out comedy, and it doesnt leap back and forth with wild abandon. Neither of the genres clashed with each other and they all knitted together well delivering a complete story on all the expected levels.

Another strong aspect is that the humour doesn't come from the expected one-liners and overly convoluted set-ups that stand out a mile from typical British science-fiction/comedic stories, instead the humour is built through the characters and the situations and fits in well amongst the film.

The story turned out to be rather funny in places and it becamean interesting twist on a standard tale of a group of people stranded alone with a creature hunting them down. It doesn't descend into too familiar territory, in fact the whole idea of how they realise that they can fight the creature is rather unique and as well as providing a dramatic counterpoint for the main character it also provides some funny lines and situations, and when the lock-in begins the humour kicks into gear.

There were some nice references both in the visuals and the script but nothing that became too geeky or delving into deep fandom, another expected trend of films of this genre. There werent that many and they didnt leap out of the film, a general audience wouldnt feel lost hearing them because they probably wouldnt notice them so its not a Pegg-Frost type of film.

I did have an issue with the score early on as it seemed to be rather loud in comparison to the rest of the audio and especially before events really picked up. It did seem to be fighting for your attention above everything else in the film at times when it should perhaps have been a little more restrained. If it had stepped back just a little I would have gone with the story much moreat the beginning.

Visually the film was quite a surprise as the effects looked really good, probably as the film took a leaf out of many other strong creature films by not overly showing the creature. Don't be fooled though, they don't skimp when it does arrive and it's a full on climactic reveal which they don't hold back.

There are also some beautiful landscapes and locations in the film, and I'm not just talking about the local pub. It's filmed and edited well giving an overall impression of a larger budgeted film.

Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley are both very good in the film. Coyle plays the drunk well and has strong comic timing as does Bradley who provides some of the best comedy moments with Coyle providing a strong anti-hero. Their chemistry works well on screen and they both give natural performances, even when working with CG in the later scenes.

When they are teamed up with Russell Tovey the three of them deliver a great dynamic that allows Coyle to bring out a little extra in his character and bounce off of Tovey. Its these three characters that are the most attractive about the film and are really what keep you watching, and of course the strong comedic lines they are given to deliver.

Overall.pngGrabbers is a lot of fun, it's an enjoyable film that manages to combine the elements of the different genres together into one package and not lose the core of the story, the characters and the funny situation that they all find themselves in. It doesn't forget that the people are at the heart of this film and so it never gets taken over by the other genres and maintains the comedy throughout.

Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley are very good together and with the addition of Russell Tovey the comedy level is raised. It's these three characters and actors who keep you attached to the film at a human and emotional level, tying you in well before the creature arrivesand giving you plenty to laugh about.

Theres a great sense of pacing in the film that really picks up when the lock-in begins and that does take the audience with the film, even if its something weve seen before it works really well here and it all has a different slant to it, emanating from the pubs pumps.

There are some great lines in the film and strong comic set-ups, plenty to get the audience laughing and showing off what Kevin Lehane can write not to mention Jon Wright's direction.

Grabbers has moments for everyone and you'll have a lot of fun and a good few laughs. It's a well made and funny comedy with great characters and situations, not to mention Coyle, Bradley and Tovey. I'll have a pint of Grabbers!

More on Edinburgh International Film Festival 2012 on Filmstalker
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Edinburgh International Film Festival Official Site
UK IMDB Film Details
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