Saturday, 8 October 2011


UK Release: 3rd December 2010
Watched on DVD: Thursday 6th October 2011
Rating: 12A
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Runtime: 1hr 34mins
Tagline: After Six Years, They're No Longer Aliens. They're Residents.
IMDb Plot Summary: Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon re-entry over Central America. Soon after, new life form began to appear and half of Mexico was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain "the creatures"...... Our story begins when a US journalist agrees to escort his boss’ daughter through the infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.

My Review: Monsters: the title could suggest a big blockbuster with aliens invading the earth - this film is far from this. This film is set in the aftermath; aliens are an everyday occurrence with some fantastic visuals with signs everywhere adding to the realistic effect this film has. 
The film is mostly comprised of improvised dialogue from the two cast members - Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able, who play Andrew, an american journalist who never lets his camera leave his side and is struggling with the morals of his work, and Samantha, whose father asks Andrew to bring her safely home back to him and her fiancee, something which she is struggling with also. In real life the couple were engaged while filming (now married), and purposely chosen because of this, as they have fantastic chemistry on screen. The romance between the characters is subtle but moving and adds a great depth to the sci-fi, horror/thriller concept. The only other ‘cast’ members on screen are locals from the locations and many, especially the ticket officer, are so outstanding it is hard to believe they are just random people ‘off the street’. 
I can’t go much further in this review without mentioning Gareth Edwards. Writer, director, cinematographer, special effects guy - he’s the all round creative force behind this project and makes it what it is, a film worthy of 8 awards and a BAFTA nomination. And considering this was his debut (and he’s British!) an even more magnificent achievement.
Monsters really packs an emotional punch. It wasn’t until the end that I realised that the fantastic, heart-in-your-mouth opening scenes to the film were actually meant to be what happens after the end scene. If you’ve seen it this makes sense (and I very much urge you to!). This made be incredibly sad, most that would have recognised the characters would have watched the film with that knowledge but my blissful ignorance lulled me into a false sense of security, and hope for a happy ending. It definitely made me think more about the film as a whole. It was edited brilliantly well, especially considering the improvisation and shifting in plot as they filmed (as the brilliant behind the scenes documentary on the DVD shows).  
Another thing that must be noted were the special effects. I remember all the press for when this film came out (and was devastated to have missed it in cinemas) and the emphasis on how small a budget they had. It wasn’t until I watched both the film and the documentary did I realise how exceptional an accomplishment it was for Gareth Edwards and his two or three people that made up his crew to make such a stunningly beautiful, put together film shot guerilla style with almost no money. 
Monsters is very real, very scary, and one amazing journey. The ‘monsters’ big reveal at the end took my breath away, and half of that breath came from the performances of the two leads. They made the film what it is. Just superb.
I loved it. 
Score: 9/10

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