Monsters (from director Gareth Edwards)
Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A space probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon re-entry over Mexico. Soon after, new life form began to appear and half the Country was quarantined as an Infected Zone. Today, the Mexican and American military still struggle to contain “the creatures.”
Because of the creatures, the people in Mexico must live in a hostile environment among a restricted military war zone. Andrew (Scoot McNairy) is a U.S. journalist excited to capture photographic images of these alien creatures. But before he can get started his supervisor informs him that he must escort the boss’s daughter, Samantha (Whitney Able), out of Mexico and back to the safe zone of America. Both begin their journey reluctantly together. But due to unforeseen problems and the life endangering monsters, they quickly realize they must work together in order to achieve their common goal- to get out. Speaking of him minimally, Samantha has a fiancé that she seems less than thrilled about. Andrew has a six-year-old son who he rarely sees due to his traveling career. By boat, jeep and foot they press on through the monster infested land learning and relying upon one another.
The low budget film has garnered some well-deserved praise among smaller circles. It is without a doubt a film that shows promise from all those involved. The two lead actors, McNairy and Able, build a rightfully awkward chemistry that blossoms as their characters grow. The script and direction by Gareth Edwards is reminiscent of a seasoned pro. Keeping the story focused on the characters, the creatures remain rightfully in a supporting role. The fear within in the film would have benefited from not revealing the five-story building sized jellyfish looking monsters to open the film. But opening (and ending) aside, like all best monster films, the creatures are heard but rarely seen. The impending danger was always a present factor without ever showing too much.
Wearing a fourth hat after directing, visual effects and writing the script, Gareth Edwards also was the cinematographer. From the deconstructed cities to the desolate fields, the landscape in Central America was another driving force to the film. As our heroes traveled through river and forest the environment made its presence known as a never-ending obstacle and breeding ground for the creatures. Through all this wonderfully shot scenery, our two characters remained the focus.
MONSTERS title and description make it sound far more cheesy sci-fi than it actually is. The creatures pose simply as a backdrop forcing our characters to realize what they truly value. The journey literally and figuratively is the real star of the film. The story is presented in an exciting, plausible manner showing the biggest gain from MONSTERS is Gareth Edwards, who has proven himself to be a filmmaker with a promising future.