An enticing story with some visuals that will surely pique your interest. Monsters is an interesting film in that the title “character” is barely present, yet plays an important role throughout. Let’s read on for the rest of the review…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: Six years after Earth has suffered an alien invasion a cynical
journalist agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through an
infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.
Monsters is a character driven piece that could’ve easily fell apart if not for the performances of it’s two leads. Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able pull the film together with two minimalistic roles. I was a little put off at first with Scoot’s short fused and snappy Andrew Kaulder, but he grew on me once he started to show some affection and determination to keep Whitney’s character, Samantha Wynden, safe. The story stays with these two characters the entire time, so the films integrity hinged on these two stars. Personally, I thought they did an excellent job at keeping you enthralled in the ever struggling journey ahead of them.
The stories “monsters” are sidelined in a film who’s cinematography becomes the main attraction. It takes you through several beautiful and stunning locations, which are peppered with little indications that the planet will never be the same after this alien invasion. Speaking of the alien invasion, only tiny bits and pieces of information are handed to you via tv reports and the visual disarray of society. The aliens are only shown sporadically throughout the film, which allows your imagination to run wild. Some people may be peeved about this, seeing how the movie is called Monsters, but I enjoyed the subtle storytelling, minimalistic alien screen time and the toned back exposition. The design of the creatures seem to have been ripped right straight from H.P. Lovecraft himself, with their Cthulhu inspired appearance. The music in the film reminded me a little of John Murphy’s work on 28 Days Later. Composed by Jon Hopkins, the Monsters soundtrack is at times emotional, intense and heartfelt. Honestly, with the fantastic cinematography, sound and creature designs, the entire film crew should be applauded for bringing in such stellar work on such a small budget. (Director was quoted saying the budget was way under $500,000.)
I’m sure Monsters has a bunch of hidden meaning behind it. Mankind’s fear of change, humans are the real monsters and the destination you seek isn’t always where you should end up. The film leaves all this up to interpretation. As for myself, I just really enjoyed getting hooked into the mysterious, suspenseful and beautiful journey our two friends are forced to take. Don’t go in expecting an action packed alien extravaganza, but just sit back, enjoy the scenery and allow yourself to be enveloped into the purposely subdued story.