I finally caught the 2010 indie film Monsters, from Gareth Edwards. It stars Scoot McNairy (Killing Them Softly) and Whitney Able (Unearthed). Since it’s been a while since I cranked out a movie review here on Brusimm, so here goes:
The story goes that six years ago NASA discovered life on another planet. They sent a probe to collect samples, but then the probe broke up upon re-entry. After that new alien life forms started to appear and half the country of Mexico was quarantined. The Mexican and U.S. military find themselves constantly trying to contain the skyscraper tall monsters in the region or “Infected Zone.”
Monsters then shows us an attack by one of the aliens in war torn Mexico. The aliens look like a huge walking octopus. The next day we follow Andrew (McNairy) tasked to find his bosses daughter, Samantha (Able), and get her home.
And thus, their journey through the alien besieged land of Mexico begins. And that’s exactly what this movie is… a journey of two people, through a besieged land, as they get to know one another on the trip with the backdrop of an alien infestation.
But there are issues here and there along the way. Issues between them, or with them and the situation. But hey, what can go wrong when you make a brain-dead move like get off the only train that can get you out of the infected country, or that you lose your passport along the way?
Monsters is a great little movie that was done on a “shoestring” budget, if can call ~$500k a shoestring. Yet director/writer Gareth Edwards makes this movie a compelling piece to watch. His eye for settings, camera angles, character interaction pulls it all together into an entertaining sit down for the movie fan. The cast also were not in the way as far as delivering Edwards vision!
This IS NOT a giant monster action movie. It’s a great dramatic piece set with giant alien monsters complicating it. Don’t get me wrong, the tense moments are well timed and you won’t escape the message that Edwards tries to convey, and that there’s an upwelling of alien monsters in our own backyard. And your need for giant monsters/kaiju will by satiated.
I think Monsters is a worthy time-killer if you come across it or “rent” it. I snagged it on my Amazon Prime account.
What’s truly unique behind the process that Edwards brings to the movie is his eye on efficiency. This movie was a statement about huge production budgets and over-staffed movie crews. The effects in the movie were done in his bedroom. He made the film with over-the-counter equipment, nothing fancy.
He had a crew of 6, and he let the actors improvise off the script. Edwards filmed in Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico and Guatemala, using real settings, looking for that imperfect moment that makes perfect scenes.