Sunday, 19 June 2011
DVD: MONSTERS (2010)
Now this is a movie which has been getting a lot of praise on the movie websites I frequent (horror, sf, cult, etc) for being a thoughtful SF (and it is science fiction, not horror) film with an astonishingly low budget but looks as if it was made for a hundred times its actual cost.
One of the reasons is that there are only two professional actors in the whole thing. The rest are all bit parts by locals, mostly not even actors, the director (also writer and director of photography) encountered in his journey through Latin American countries like Belize, Guatamala, etc, but mostly Mexico which is supposedly where it's set. The crew itself only totalled six people so it's almost guerrilla film-making. Given that, it really is amazing how good it looks.
The plot is quite simple as is the basic premise. Alien material arrives on earth from a crashed space probe and develops into large nomadic aliens that are, except when attacked, only accidentally destructive. Half of Mexico has been quarantined and a huge wall across the USA-Mexican border constructed. US aircraft are constantly flying bomber missions against the aliens but are failing to contain them. Against this background, a photo-journalist is given the job of getting his boss's daughter back to the States. That last sentence, by the way, was the plot. Firstly they try to get to the coast to board a ship but when that fails they go on a risky trip through the Infected Zone.
Mostly the monsters -which are just alien animals having about as much malevolence as an elephant- are kept in the background but are extremely effective when they aren't. The focus is on the slowly growing relationship between the two protagonists against a background of destruction and it works very well.
The Daily Mirror is quoted on the box as calling it "thrilling, action packed, and totally original." Well, two out of three aint bad. It isn't action packed and some viewers have been put off by the sometimes slow pace. I wasn't because it's about a journey, both physical and emotional. Don't go expecting a Godzilla kaiju-type movie and you should have a good time. This is an extremely effective little movie.