Flashback Movie Review – Monsters (2010)

As many of you already know, my blog crashed back at the end of last year. And, as a result, I lost four years worth of reviews, interviews, and rants. Fortunately, I was smart enough to save each one on my hard drive. Every now and then, I’m going to dip into that invaluable pool of opinion and share with you once again my views on certain films and books. Lucky you! Today’s selection is MONSTERS, a science-fiction hit from director Gareth Edwards. Hope you enjoy it…

Monsters
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Courtesy of Magnet Releasing
Released: 2010

monsters

Interestingly, Monsters is not what I thought it would be. Several reviews I had read prior to watching it described it as a human drama epic set against a sort of alien invasion. For some reason, I didn’t believe the reviews. I thought that with a title like Monsters, it would be more focused on, well, the monsters.

This is not a bad thing at all; quite the contrary, Monsters is an excellent film and one that I am very proud to own. Gareth Edwards did an amazing job with the film, especially given the supposed budget ($800k, speculatively). In short, he does a ‘monster’ job with just a little bit of dough (sorry…couldn’t pass up the pun).

If you’re not familiar with Monsters, here is the synopsis courtesy of imdb.com:

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 a shaken tourist through the infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.

I’ll start by stating the obvious: there ARE monsters in this film…and they’re very inventive, behemoth striders that stand two stories above the average person. And they’re scary as hell. Which is one of the reasons I like them so much.

But, true to the previous reviews I had read, Monsters also contains riveting human drama as well. I love stories like this, where the interactions between the two main characters (portrayed by the beautiful Whitney Able and the talented Scoot McNairy) and the people they meet are set against the backdrop of a potentially terrifying situation. This adds more realism to the film and also helps set a more serious tone, which in turn forces the audience to take the movie more seriously.

The special effects are extremely impressive as well; the aliens, as monstrous as they are on-screen, are rendered so well that you can’t tell they are computer generated. Add to this fact the attention to detail that the production team used, and you have an instant success from a visual standpoint.

I also like how Monsters is shot, although I think a couple of the scenes might be a little too shaky for some viewers. But the chaos that Able and McNairy endure in the film is captured beautifully with the camerawork.

While some critics thought the film ended a little too abruptly for their tastes, I feel like it ends perfectly. Granted, some of what transpires after the credits roll is left to your imagination, but that’s not a bad thing at all. If anything, I feel it adds (in most cases) to your immersion in the film.

Monsters is a low-budget film that does not look low-budget in the least. I wish I had been able to catch it in the theater, but am very pleased to have watched it on DVD. Add this one to your list as soon as possible. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

MSB

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