Weekend Film Recommendation: Monsters (2010)

4 Mar

Monsters

Rated: R (language)

Starring: Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able

Director: Gareth Edwards

In order to alleviate any confusion from the beginning, let me be clear that this is a review of the movie Monsters, not the movie Monster starring Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci.  The added “s” is not the only difference between these two films, Monster had actual creatures on-screen. 

If you look directly at it you'll turn to stone

 Monsters takes place six years after an alien “invasion”, when a journalist is hired by his boss to escort an American tourist (the boss’s daughter) across the Mexican border into the United States.  The issue is that the aliens have colonized in a certain area of mexico referred to as “the infected zone” and the two must travel around it to gain entry into America.  Their window of opportunity is slim because the aliens have a migration period which begins in 2 days and lasts for 6 months, during this time all border transportation is shut down by U.S. security forces.

Thank God, Cancun spring break isn't cancelled

Disregard the social context of the film’s blatant metaphor and there’s still a lot to appreciate in this film.  The entire film follows the two leads, who obviously carry the film, and they do well because of their on-screen chemistry.  Even at times when there’s not much going on (and that is often unfortunately) they still manage to keep the films pace and develop their characters.  The cinematography and landscape of the scenes are marvelously shot, somehow managing to allow the viewer to marvel at the beauty and tremble in the destruction of Mexico simultaneously.

Before viewing this film I knew it was an independent effort and the budget was slim; but at a total of $800 thousand after marketing and distribution, it is truly an achievement in filmmaking that this film looks so good.  Because of the paltry budget the aliens/creatures/monsters do not get a lot of screen time, blink and you will miss them. 

Can you spot the alien in this screen cap?

This drives the film’s plot and suspense as the characters and viewers alike are left wondering when and if they’ll run into a creature.  However, the film is also hindered because of this as its identity becomes muddled.  Part creature feature, part romance, and part exotic road trip it is hard to tell what genre this film falls under, but in a way that gives it a unique identity as well. 

One last recommendation before watching Monsters, pay close attention to the beginning shot sequence.  The story and allegory may not be as complex as District 9 (also available on Netflix instantly), and the budget certainly doesn’t allow for the same effects or any CGI; but considering what Monsters accomplished with the resources it was provided, this truly is a brilliant work of art.

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2 Responses to “Weekend Film Recommendation: Monsters (2010)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Weekend Film Recommendation: Monsters (2010) (via Chris and Pac Take on Hollywood) | The Calculable - March 5, 2011

    […] Weekend Film Recommendation: Monsters (2010) (via Chris and Pac Take on Hollywood) Posted on 5 March, 2011 by Jarle Petterson Monsters Rated: R (language) Starring: Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able Director: Gareth Edwards In order to alleviate any confusion from the beginning, let me be clear that this is a review of the movie Monsters, not the movie Monster starring Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci.  The added “s” is not the only difference between these two films, Monster had actual creatures on-screen. 

  2. Top 15 Alien Invasion Movies « Chris and Pac Take on Hollywood - March 11, 2011

    […] you want more on Monsters, check out the Weekend Film Recommendation from March 4, […]

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