Starring Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able.
Written & Directed by Gareth Edwards.
When a NASA probe carrying alien spores breaks apart during re-entry to Earth, it spells serious consequences for the poor folks of Mexico and the southern USA. For soon, new life emerges, and a massive area is cordoned off as a ‘contaminated zone’. Confrontations with this new species (something akin to the weirdest deep sea creatures in James Cameron’s Aliens Of The Deep) are a regular occurrence now; the world is changed and so have the attitudes of civilians. Amid this chaos we meet a gruff photojournalist assigned to get his employer’s daughter out of Mexico on the last ferry to the States. Failing this, the two have no choice but to find passage to America through the contaminated zone. There is no doubt that Monsters has a most misleading (yet poetically relevant) title; anyone entering this film expecting to witness total CGI creature carnage will be sorely disappointed. Shot on a low budget, with many improvised scenes, Monsters refuses to show its hand until a stunning sequence towards the end, deftly balancing its limited budget with its immense scope. At times it feels as though it will never quite reach its vision; however, the payoff is so worth the wait and the journey there so wrought with tension that any serious film-lover should be hooked on the film from the get-go. Art Direction is key here, as the success of this film lies within the little details; it’s also a great example of how to tell a big story on a small scale. But what really makes Monsters one of the best films of 2010 is the personal story that provides the focus and undercurrent. These two flawed, emotional, identifiable characters (played by real-life couple McNairy and Able) are as monumental to the story as the monsters themselves. How wonderful to watch a film of this type and actually care about what happens to the characters. It’s a rare thing.
by Wadrick Jones