Monsters is science fiction at its best

Monsters_maskMonsters is a haunting, expertly crafted science fiction alien invasion story from first time British director Gareth Edwards. Amazingly Edwards is also cinematographer, production designer and visual effects programmer. Apparently shot for around US$500,000, it could easily be mistaken for a US$50 million science fiction film from an established director (unlike other big budget Hollywood effects movies however Edwards decided to include a plot).

Six years ago Nasa sent out a probe to collect what they believed were samples of alien life. The probe broke up on re-entry and soon after alien life forms began to grow below. After six years, a human and alien populated "infected zone" has been sectioned off from the rest of the world, with a giant wall helping to contain the creatures that live there. They're big, incomprehensible and easily a match for the military or anyone else who stumbles upon them. When they move, these giant squid like creatures, with fluorescent, electrical tentacles and deep whale sounds, are mesmerising.

Photojournalist Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) attempts to help his boss' daughter, Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able), escape the Mexican section of the quarantined zone and return to America. They both carry plenty of emotional baggage. Andrew is estranged from his six year old son, while Samantha appears to be having doubts about her impending marriage. The alien invasion story serves as a backdrop to the pair's developing relationship as they journey through the infected zone, meeting impoverished Mexicans, the wreckage of past human/alien conflicts, and the inexplicable invaders themselves.

Where films like Cloverfield and Skyline have failed miserably, Monsters shines with compelling characters, a tight, subtle script, and perfect pacing. Shot (sometimes illegally) in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Texas, Edwards reportedly had over 100 hours worth of footage that he then edited down to 94 minutes. A lot of the dialogue was adlibbed.

There's a lot hidden beneath the surface of Monsters, with clear parallels to the US's Mexican immigration problem, the Iraq and Afganistan wars, and how others may view the US from the outside looking in.

The final climatic scene in the service station with two monsters meeting each other as a storm gathers is not something you're likely to forget in a hurry. Monsters is an amazing achievement and is bound to become a cult science fiction classic. Watch the Monsters trailer on YouTube below.

Related Articles/Posts

Latest comments