Two people who barely know one another are thrown into otherworldly danger in this independent thriller. Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) is an American photojournalist on assignment in Mexico at a time when working there has become unusually dangerous -- after a NASA space probe crash-landed not far from the American border, alien creatures that made their way into the satellite were released, and have since thrived in Northern Mexico. Now the area is regarded as an "infected zone," where the aliens (who resemble giant squids) have been contained but move about freely, sometimes attacking humans who cross their paths. While working on a project, Kaulder's publisher contacts him to ask a big favor; his daughter Samantha (Whitney Able) has been traveling outside the United States, and would appreciate an escort from Southern Mexico to California. Not wanting to anger his boss, Kaulder agrees and books passage on a ferry that travels through a safe zone. But bad timing, bad luck, and some foolish choices by Kaulder prevent him and Samantha from catching the ship, and now they have to travel through alien territory with the help of some armed guards, hoping to avoid contact with the bloodthirsty creatures. Monsters is the first feature film from special effects artist-turned-director Gareth Edwards. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able
Release Date: Oct 29, 2010
Rated R for Language
Runtime: 1 hr. 34 min.
Genres: Science Fiction, Alien Invasion, Suspense/Thriller
Gareth Edwards’ Monsters is an ambitious and admirable effort which shows off his many talents (he directed, wrote and did the FX for this film). It’s intended as an allegorical sci-fi film with a road movie romance. Neither of which really hit the mark. The allegorical element is fairly heavy handed and lacks the subtlety to make it truly effective. At times it seems that both elements are battling with each other and Edwards can’t seem to fine a happy medium. The love story never feels organic and the actors try their best but lack any substantial chemistry. Scoot McNairy fares the best while Whitney Able borders on amateurish at times. It never reaches the inspired heights of District 9, which is borrows certain elements from, but it does provide some thoughtful heady moments which will leave an impression well after the fact. Pacing can be an issue as the film moves at glacial pace and we get just a few extended sequences with the titular Monsters but if you stick with the film and let it set in you’ll find enough to enjoy, making it a worthwhile experience.