Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Monsters (2010)


Tina and I caught this on the On Demand In Theaters Now on the ol' cable box last night. I heard about this through people seeing and reviewing it at SXSW, which is what originally piqued my interest. I had never seen the trailer so I had no idea how they marketing it.  It might be an easy sell, but people might just be disappointed with what they get. I feel like we were disappointed but that might not be the movie's fault. Let me explain. The movie takes place 6 years after a N.A.S.A. probe carrying some sort of organic life from outer space crash lands in Mexico. Most of Mexico becomes an "infected zone" where the organic life had grown and reproduced into the "monsters" of the title (You never quite get a great look at them but they look sort of like big space octopi). The American and Mexican armies are still trying to contain them 6 years later, especially the Americans are trying to keep them from getting into the U.S. and spreading. They do this mostly by force but also by erecting a huge wall on the border to keep them out (Get it!?) A photographer and the daughter of the guy he works for ends up having to travel through the  "Infected Zone" in order to get back into America. So here's the thing, you listen to that description and you expect one thing, I suppose. And we were, on this night, looking for thrills and chills, so to speak. But what we got is actually a more human drama that is more an allegory about immigration and U.S. interventionism. But even that is sort of background fodder for the main two characters and their story and the human cost of everything that's going on. Its sort of a bastard child between Cloverfield and The Road. What's amazing is that the writer and director Gareth Edwards, takes the very indie production, he did most everything on the film, manages to make something that looks like a big budget film with the leanest of productions. It was basically him, his editor, and his two actors for most of the time. It's really a dramatic thriller/love story disguised as a sci-fi film. He even manages to organically create a relationship between the two leads which starts off as antagonistic, and due to circumstances slowly transforms into something. It's actually all really interesting, and especially interesting to see what can be done with little or no real resources, in that sense it is really impressive. Just don't go into expecting monster movie thrills like we did because they aren't there. There are a few, and the atmosphere of tension he manages to create through bare glimpses of the creatures and news footage make for really nice world building. But if you go into expecting it to be a thrilling experience its not so much. But it is definitely an interesting one to say the least.


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