HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
Pebble and the Boy, The
Mosquito State
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Monsters An alien infested road trip romance
Year: 2010
Director: Gareth Edwards
Stars: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 5 votes)
Review: A NASA probe crash lands in Central America unleashing strange new life forms as half of Mexico is quarantined as an infected zone. Six years later, US and Mexican military forces wage war against enormous alien creatures that run amok inside the zone and seem on the verge of encroaching American territory. Photojournalist Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) is eager to get at least one ‘money shot’ of the creatures in action, but finds himself tasked with escorting his boss’ stranded daughter, Sam (Whitney Able) across the monster ridden wilds to the seeming safety of the US border.

As a low-budget wonder, Monsters is a greater achievement than The Blair Witch Project (1999) in that writer-director/effects artist Gareth Edwards forsakes gimmickry and gets back to character detail and solid storytelling. In fact, Edwards initially confines his tentacled terrors to eerie noises in the dark or unsettling images on a news broadcast, as the film is foremost a compelling love story. With striking, charismatic performances from Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able - last seen in the similarly revisionist though far more flawed All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) - the romance develops in a wholly naturalistic and believable way, oddly akin to such indie dramas as Before Sunrise (1995).

At first Andrew seems like a man of integrity, as he lectures Sam how her publisher dad won’t pay anything for a photo of a smiling child but thousands for a picture of a dead one. But Andrew is actually a bit of a flake. He has a child from a previous liaison too superficial to be labelled a relationship and loses Sam’s passport as a result of a one night stand. Yet Andrew has enough human decency to cover the corpse of a Mexican child slain by the monsters and to lament a lack of intimacy with his own offspring. Similarly, we have Sam first pegged as another spoiled little rich girl, but in fact she is far more empathetic towards their Mexican hosts (she speaks Spanish, whereas Andrew does not) and is quietly resourceful and strong. While Edwards never signposts Sam’s personal problems in the lazy, soap operatic way most mainstream science fiction movies do, it remains obvious that she, like Andrew, is an emotionally damaged, troubled individual for whom the ensuing adventure proves some sort of catharsis.

Some chose to interpret the plot as a kind of allegorical role-reverse commentary on US immigration policy, but this is something Edwards has denied. What is undeniable is the film deals with the psychological scars wrought by 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the global financial crisis and the aftermath of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, in a remarkably profound way. “It’s different looking at America from the outside”, remarks Andrew whilst surveying the vast walls that surround the infected zone. The country is besieged by monsters, but aside from erecting barriers and dropping cluster bombs, nobody seems to know what to do. Edwards delivers suspenseful set-pieces as potent as anything Steven Spielberg did in War of the Worlds (2005) or Matt Reeves managed with Cloverfield (2008), but his characters are never so caught up in the adventure aspect that they lose sight of the human cost. They glimpse piles of human bones along the city streets and watch prayers being said by candlelight beside photos of lost loved ones, and are visibly moved. It says a lot about Monsters’ accomplishments that after years of being numbed by CGI extravaganzas, our first glimpse of a slimy tentacle or the sound of a monster’s roar still induces a frisson of real fear and awe. The film eventually finds hope in a moment of shared wonder that both galvanises the characters and implies the monsters are more than mere killing machines and a greater understanding of them might be possible.

Maybe the most remarkable thing about Monsters, given its acclaim as both a piece of cerebral science fiction and edgy social satire, is that it remains a very warm film exhibiting a generosity of spirit towards its flawed protagonists, a refusal to resort to a clichéd depiction of the Mexican characters and, in spite of its sporadic bursts of Lovecraftian horror, an optimistic vision of humanity enduring a crisis. And the monsters are icky and cool.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2850 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: