Nottingham’s Mayhem Horror Film Festival continued apace last night with a screening of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers (with Wheatley and star/co-writer Steve Oram in attendance) and a preview of Jon Wright’s Irish monster movie Grabbers.
Sightseers is the third feature from the astonishingly assured Wheatley (following his cult hits Down Terrace and Kill List) who was in a characteristically droll mood during in the Q&A with festival organiser (and film director in his own right with the remarkable One for the Road) Chris Cooke. “Sightseers has everything you need for a feature film to work,” Wheatley drawled, “Sex, murder, small dogs and caravans”. In equal measures I might add. A rich, dark and brilliant piece of work, think Nuts in May meets Badlands and you have something close to what Wheatley achieves in Sightseers. It’s the best British film about caravanning and camping since the days of Carry On.
Wheatley’s opus was a hard act to follow but Jon Wright’s Grabbers provided a change of tone after the coruscating Sightseers, to deliver a good ol’ fashioned monster movie, and a very enjoyable one too.
In Grabbers Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley play two Garda on a small island off the coast of Ireland fighting against an invasion of sea monsters. When they discover that monsters are bloodsuckers and repelled by alcohol, our heroes hole up themselves and the rest of the island in the local pub for the craic to end all craics. Cue much blarney amid the gooey alien effects.
Strongly reminiscent of Tremors and Slither in this tale of an offbeat community fighting off monsters, Grabbers harks all the way back to 1950s atomic sci-fi when the monster movie had its heyday with movies like Tarantula. There’s a mad scientist, eccentric locals, giant monsters and even a love story at the heart of the movie. Coyle and Bradley are charming as alcoholic (he) and workaholic (she) Garda who are inevitably drawn to each other, and Russell Tovey acquits himself well as the bumbling scientist.
The British themes continues at the festival tonight with The Case Book of Eddie Brewer at 6pm and Guinea Pigs at 8.15pm.
Check out the Mayhem Horror Festival website for details http://mayhemhorrorfest.co.uk/