IFTA Best Film 2020 | Extra Ordinary

Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos

Directed by Mike Ahern & Enda Loughman

Somehow, the honest mundanity of suburban Ireland seems the perfect setting for the intersection of horror and romantic comedy, two forms that can seem patronisingly unbelievable, but when met here make for excellent farce. 

This is true for the aptly-titled Extra Ordinary. The film follows Rose (Maeve Higgins), a frank depiction of ‘the woman of today,’ surviving in a world that leads her to eat microwavable lasagne in her Spanx on an exercise ball. She also happens to be able to communicate with ghosts and overcomes her fears to help widower Martin Martin (Barry Ward) save his possessed daughter and reckon with the ghost of his domineering wife. Jokes which have the potential to land obviously don’t, due in large part to Higgins’ delivery, her communication with ghosts being akin to the tone of an HSE social worker making a house call. 

This creates a wonderful absurdism and the willingness of the directors to avoid the predictable within this horror-comedy is refreshing. It is not difficult to recommend this film to Irish and non-Irish audiences alike, though Irish audiences will definitely grasp some of the comic nuance more easily. 
While the film’s climax does come suddenly and is perhaps overly ridiculous, Extra Ordinary returns to its hilariously identifiable mundanity for its appropriately abrupt conclusion. In a nutshell: a refreshingly original mix of genres, despite the occasional excessive moment.

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