Here’s the brand new trailer for Monsters which will be landing on DVD and Blu-ray this coming Monday, 28th March. If you don’t know much about the film, I highly recommend it and attach a review I wrote for Smell of Napalm not too long ago.
It’s not an alien thriller, but it’s not exactly your average drama either, Monsters instead blends sci-fi and romance (no, totally unlike The Fifth Element did) in to an extra-terrestrial road trip adventure across Central America.
Comparisons to the recent District 9 are unavoidable, although other than shooting style and alien quarantine zones, the films do address different issues, or rather, different aspects of the same issue – namely life in the aftermath of alien invasion. Perhaps unusually for an ‘alien movie’, the focus isn’t on thrills and blood spills. Director Gareth Edwards isn’t aiming for the jumps and scares elicited from this type of sci fi in the past.
The plot couldn’t be simpler; think a kind of jungle excursion spin on 16 Blocks. A photojournalist, Andrew, is requested by his presumably influential employer to transport his daughter, Samantha, back to the US from within the infected zone. Their journey is inevitably not as smooth running as anticipated and the two are thrown in to an uncertain relationship together.
Monsters is a film of few flaws, but one is that the relationship between Andrew and Samantha seems too forced. Andrew is such an unlikeable jerk from the outset, apparently only concerned by himself and his career. The chance that Samantha would fall for him so readily, especially given that she already has a fiance seems distinctly slim. Their mutual attraction is too rapid and without sufficient development, and whilst their on screen chemistry as the film progresses is almost tangible (unsurprisingly since the actors Whitney Able and Scoot McNairy are married in real life), this is a thorn that sticks sharply from it’s side.
That said, never has this kind of romance been portrayed against such a dramatic and intriguing creative back drop. The ‘infected zone’ in Monsters is a work of genius that totally defies the simplicity of it’s origins: on a studio rig comprised of off the shelf Adobe software and Autodesk 3d Max set up in Edwards’ bedroom.
It might be surprising then that the special effects are actually really good, rivalling much more expensive productions. Admittedly, they are used fairly sparsely, hinting at the enormity of the alien monsters rather than rendering them outright. A tentacle here, an unnatural silhouette there, and so on and so forth. Only in the romantic climax of the film do we see the fruits of Edwards’ labour in their full splendour, a sight I won’t ruin here with words.
The setting in Central America, other than refreshingly exotic, contributes to the alien, unfamiliar theme of Monsters, and the language barrier is used artfully to convey a sense of isolation, and the occasional drop of humour. It’s not a rollercoaster ride by any means, but Monsters will most definitely garner an emotional reaction from you in some way.
Monsters is a road movie of sorts, a trip through the heart of Central America and an exploration of companionship. It should be watched without the preconceptions that usually accompany the genre.
Run time: 94 mins
Country of Origin: UK