500 Days Of Film Reviews Monsters And Finds A Surprising, Character-Led Road Trip
Six years ago, Nasa discovered signs of alien life within our solar system. In attempt to investigate this discovery, the agency sent a probe to collect samples of the lifeforms. The probe crash landed on re-entry over Central America releasing the aliens.
The aliens have now grown, multiplied and half of Mexico has been quarantined and is now a dangerous, infected zone.
Journalist Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) agrees to escort Sam Wyden (Whitney Able). (his boss’ daughter) on the perilous journey across the infected zone back into the ‘safety’ of US territory.
Is It Any Good?
When you decide to watch a film called ‘Monsters’ you can’t help but have a few preconceived ideas. You think that there will be running, screaming, fighting. Above all, you think that the movie will contain lots of, well, monsters.
Not so this movie. The monsters here are feared and ever present but they mainly reside in the background.
This is a film about the growing relationship between the two central characters who just happen to be travelling through an alien infested zone. You could argue that we don’t actually need to see the monsters at all.
Indeed, it is sometimes even tricky to point to the monsters to which the movie is referring.
As we follow Andrew and Sam on their road trip, we see the devastation in the infected area. However, it is not clear whether the destruction has been at the hands of the monsters or as a result of the military that is trying to destroy them.
So here is what interested me about this film. I have seen many movies where the aim has been to stop an alien attack. I have seen many movies where the aim has been to get rid of an alien invasion.
I don’t think I have seen any movie where the aliens are just there. As if a herd of (admittedly rather dangerous) elephants landed on earth and tried to make a home here.
You don’t get the sense that these creatures have anything other than survival at heart. Humans brought them to earth, after all. They didn’t actually invade.
The other great thing about the film is that it touches on other, far more human, concepts such as illegal immigration.
Monsters also raises interesting questions about combat (with particular reference to the Afghanistan war).
And it is not as if you don’t see any monsters in Monsters. They are there and they are pretty impressive when they do appear.
The making of Monsters almost threatened to overshadow the film itself. There was much discussion surrounding the fact that the film’s visual effects were created on director Gareth Edwards’ home computer and the entire film cost a minuscule $500,000.
I found the monsters quite beautiful actually.