A film shot on location in Inishowen in one of the worst winter’s in living memory is creating a sensation in the movie world. And ‘Grabbers’ could well do for the peninsula what Ryan’s Daughter did for Dingle or ‘The Quiet Man’ did for the Connemara
According to director, Jon Wright, he spent a ‘small life time’ seeking out the right location for the film which has got the critics raving.
He told the ‘Journal’ yesterday: “We ‘recced’ all along the coast of Ireland - down as far as Kerry and Cork. I was looking for something on a grand scale, something of grandeur - I couldn’t get anything that suited. When we came up to Donegal bingo - I found it when we hit Inishowen.
“The landscape is magnificent really, and it plays a major role in the film. In fact I would claim ‘Grabbers’ is a bit of a love letter to the Irish landscape,”
Jon Wright said the fact that Inishowen was not over exposed in filmic terms was also a major plus.
“I know there have been a couple of movies shot here but it will be fresh for the vast majority of film goers who will not have come across scenery like this before. It really is amazing looking on the big screen.”
‘Grabbers’ is a whimsical tale of alien creatures attacking the inhabitants of a small Irish village. The inhabitants discover the only way to fight off the effects of the blood sucking creatures is by staying drunk. Chaos ensues.
The film, which is to go on general release soon, has been described as being better than ‘The Guard’ which was a surprise hit with movie goers last year right across the globe.
The director describes it as a ‘RomMonCom’ - a romcom with monsters.
Based in Moville for most of January 2010’s outdoor shooting Jon concedes as well as the scenery the weather was also a major backdrop, filming taking places outdoors on days when the temperatures were at minus 15.
He says0: “When it was decided that the schedule would have to go for January shooting I thought it was crazy but that’s the movie world - you just have to go with the flow. It was tough. In one scene in a quarry Richard (Coyle, the male lead) had to lay in the muck. He didn’t want to wear a wet suit under his clothes - he said it restricted his movements - so his only concession to the conditions was to wear two thick pairs of socks in his wellingtons. He got frostbite in both big toes, and he still has serious difficulty with them. So he really did suffer for his art.
“But having said that we also got days when the sun shone so that made it look like we were in Summer which was really playing ball!”
With a budget of just £3.5m. - Tom Cruise’s gets paid that for a couple of minutes - Grabbers is likely to earn big at the box office.
“I have to admit it is very pleasing’, says Jon, adding, ‘the reviews have been very good. We have got lots of good press.’
The director admits to having a bit of fun along the way too - getting his lead actors pissed.
“Acting drunk is not easy so I went on a pub crawl with Richard and Ruth (Bradley, the female lead) in Belfast. I got pissed too. Anyway we went back to Richard’s hotel room and I filmed them. Richard passed out, Ruth started making this speech in a weird way and I passed out down in the hotel lobby where I was asked to leave. Ruth watched it the next day - it’s not pleasant seeing how you behave when you are drunk - and I think they took that experience into the film which added to the performance.”
The film premieres in Ireland on August 10th
Ryan McNeely, Edinburgh Reporter: “The festival is just getting started but I can tell you right now that this will be my number one film of the fortnight... Combining the best elements of other monster classics like Tremors, Jaws, Deep Rising and Aliens into a new – and very Irish – whole, Grabbers is feckin’ brilliant.”
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph, 4 Stars: “This cherishable Irish B-picture plays its gleefully silly premise poker-straight, and could teach self-reflexive Hollywood projects such as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a thing or six about irony... The winkingly grandiose score is a grand fit with the glossy, not gritty, cinematography... Enjoy irresponsibly.
Elaine Macintyre’s blog, 4 Stars: “What do you get if you cross the ‘unlikely hero’ rural comedy thrills of The Guard with Ridley Scott’s Alien? Delightful horror rom-com Grabbers, of course...
The alien, when we finally get to see it, is really quite a monsterpiece, far more fun than anything Prometheus could throw at us... Will leave you beaming ear to ear.”