Aside from being a hugely entertaining romp, this film also works as a far above-average Irish rural comedy as well as a freaky monster movie. With a fiendishly inventive script and hilariously complex characters, it grabs hold of our attention and never lets go. It's scary, grisly, silly and hysterically funny, often all at the same time.
The story takes place on Erin Island, a sleepy community off the coast of Northern Ireland where the pristine beauty is about to be invaded by tentacled creatures that arrived in a meteor. The drunken local cop O'Shea (Coyle) and his newly arrived partner Nolan (Bradley) check out a report by the colourful Paddy (Roddy) about something that's definitely not a squid. And a local marine ecologist (Tovey) confirms that it's not even from earth. But as Erin comes under siege from these "grabbers", the islanders have to come up with a clever plan to save the world.
Where this goes is both sublimely ridiculous and very clever, as the filmmakers gleefully play with the monster movie genre (there's a storm rolling in!) while stirring in elements of comedy, romance, sci-fi and horror. But this is never played as a spoof, which makes it surprisingly engaging as we bond with sharp-witted characters who face both these terrifying beasts and quite a few red herrings. As they improvise weapons from whatever is at hand, they also find time to bicker, flirt and even develop some lasting relationships. And Coyle, Bradley and Tovey are terrific in the central roles, as are the riotously eccentric villagers.
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Tamara Drewe might originally be from the countryside but it's been years since she's visited the place of her youth. Much has changed in the small village from her childhood, but so has she! (with the help from a little cosmetic surgery).
Tamara returns the the village with her city ways to see a few of the other people have also adopted the city lifestyle. There's the rockstar (who's just after one thing..), the city workers who return to the village every weekend and there's the old citizens, the ones who've been around for ever. The beauty (and her hotpants) make a huge impact in the little village and all the men seem to adore her, but when it comes to finding the man who would be best for her, she might just surprise herself with her choice.
Running time: 107 minutes
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Roger Allam, Dominic Cooper, Luke Evans, Tamsin Greig, Bronagh Gallagher, Pippa Haywood