Sunday, July 17, 2022


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2010
Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able, Mario Zuniga Benavides, Annalee Jefferies, Justin Hall, Ricky Catter
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon Prime

Synopsis and Review:
Though these days director Gareth Edwards is known for tackling "Godzilla" and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story", his actual feature directorial debut was "Monsters", which he almost single handedly created on his own. The film which premiered at South by Southwest Film Festival in 2010, on its way to being well received a bit everywhere, follows the story of Sam Wynden and Andrew Kaulder who both meet in dire circumstances. Andrew is a photojournalist, and his boss asks him to escort his daughter Sam to safety in the US, since they're both in Mexico, and the border area between both countries is about to become inaccessible for quite some time. In fact that whole area has been riddled by issues since an alien species has come to Earth and latched on that particular area. The alien species came onboard of a space probe originally sent from Earth to investigate alien life forms. The creatures have quickly taken hold of the region, and the American side has built a large wall trying to prevent their invasion. After realizing the train lines are blocked and that option is no longer viable, they decide to hitchhike their way to the coast. Upon reaching the coast, Andrew buys a ferry ticket for Sam, however after a night of partying, they find themselves without passports (they were stolen by Andrew's casual partner of the evening). They use Sam's engagement ring to negotiate another exit strategy, this journey forcing them to go through the quarantine zone, including across the river and then by land.
Gareth Edwards managed to shoot "Monsters" on a very limited budget, with himself playing many of the production related roles, including cinematographer, visual effects supervisor, in addition to writing and directing the feature itself. And for the most part, he manages to be quite successful in his endeavors. With limited resources, he has successfully created an environment that very much feels like it is descending into an apocalyptic type of scenario, showcasing humanity's inability to unite their efforts, and also the chaos of dealing with the unknown. While not as distinctive and impactful as Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later" or inquisitive and ambitious as Alex Garland's "Annihilation", it's still very much a film that manages to convincingly portray this suspenseful and possibly lethal situation in which these characters find themselves in, smartly avoiding to gratuitously showcase much of the monsters themselves. The film feels at times like an extended "Twilight Zone" episode, save for the fact that the characters are very thinly characterized, and while their burgeoning romantic interest is completely expected, it also doesn't add much to the characters depth or for that matter, provide additional meaning to their travel. It's nonetheless an economically and smartly crafted film, featuring a solid performance from Scoot McNairy, and a stunning score from the always great Jon Hopkins. Worth watching.