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Monsters (2010)

  Tags: alien invasion, aliens, Gareth Edwards, mexico, monsters, road trip, romance, sci-fi, Scoot McNairy, thriller, Vertigo Films, Whitney Able

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (6 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

monstersreviewposter.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
Gareth Edwards
Runtime: 
94 minutes
Cast: 
Whitney Able, Scoot McNairy
 

Described as "this year's District 9," Monsters is definitely love-hate-type film, especially when you go in expecting to see what the title would imply -- Monsters, because you will be sorely disappointed. The flick is, in fact, more of a human drama with a side of romance and a dash of sci-fi and thriller elements for good measure. I personally liked the movie, but I knew exactly what kind of film it was before actually seeing it.

The story is set 6 years after a NASA space probe containing possible alien life forms crashes into Mexico during re-entry. This causes Mexico to be considered an "infected zone" and forces the US and Mexican military to struggle to keep the alien creatures within the border. We follow a photojournalist whose job it is to retrieve and escort his boss's daughter through the country safely, but they hit a couple snags along the way, turning a seemingly simple assignment into a dangerous trek through the country's deadliest zones.

As stated above, the film is more of a romance-drama, as we witness these two characters grow from strangers to potential love interests as the story progresses. It's also a road movie set in the backdrop of an alien invasion, minus the destructive badassery we usually see in alien-themed flicks. As for the "monsters" -- they're all pretty much kept in the dark, never really giving the audience a clear view of these beings, but just enough to let the viewer's imagination fill in the gaps. Though, simply-put, they're basically large squid-like creatures with legs...

The movie has its share of faults, like for instance the dialogue between the two main characters is far from engaging, and the leads themselves are really not very interesting. The chemistry that's supposed to be blossoming between the two is pretty sloppily executed, which is the film's biggest downfall, in my opinion.  Sloppy romances-aside, I still enjoyed the pic. Of course I'm keen on survival road movies, so naturally I would at least enjoy that portion of the film.

Despite the movie mostly being far from your standard alien-invasion effort, it does deliver what we were hoping to see in a few scenes. Although short, the beginning is one good example, as we follow the night vision point-of-view of one man within a group of US military soldiers attacking one of these giant creatures. There's another great scene much later in the movie where a monster attacks a caravan of heavily armed Mexican men in the dead of night. For a low-budget effort, the CGI is pretty well done for the most part, with the exception of one scene at the very end of the flick.

Monsters is further proof that you don't necessarily need a big budget or lots of special effects to deliver a successful sci-fi alien-invasion flick. Of course, those looking for a lot of "monsters" running amok and causing all sorts of havoc will be greatly disappointed, as the film is primarily a human drama/romance, road movie than anything. Go in with an open mind and don't take the title too literal and you may come out pleased, like I was.

Posted on October 7, 2010 - 11:07am | FrighT MasteR

 

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