18 March 2011



Starring Scott McNairy, Whitney Able
Written & directed by Gareth Edwards
Release: 29 October 2010
Magnet Releasing, 94 mins., Rated PG-13

Plot: Andrew is tasked to bring injured Samantha back to the States by her billionaire father, but it becomes a far more difficult objective to achieve when they have to walk through the Infected Zone, where they could be attacked by big ol' aliens at any second. Great first date locale, no?

The thing is, with a movie called MONSTERS, I really expect monsters to show up and not extraterrestrial aliens that have now become, more or less, terrestrial. Sure, the definition of what a monster is or is not is a bit flaky, but my interpretation of a good ol’ monster is some beast being woken up from the Arctic, or a man-made creation of a fifty-meter tall dinosaur-hybrid thingy, or even the bloody Blob. So, no, I’m not particularly inclined to say the ‘monsters’ in MONSTERS are, in fact, monsters, but I’ll go along with the title for now.

Luckily Gareth Edwards will be tackling a REAL monster for a 2012 release…

That said, MONSTERS is a terrific movie. Director Gareth Edwards gives us what must be the most gorgeous looking monster film yet, with the shots of debris or the sky or the digital monsters looking absolutely breathtaking. I won’t give away the ending scene at the gas station, but it works so well because of the cinematography, and, furthermore, the brilliant use of silence and careful editing. On the technical front of things, with such a limited budget, MONSTERS has the look and feel of a bigger budgeted flick, although that isn’t to say the movie boasts plenty of alien scenes or digital effects.

Negative. MONSTERS is a movie about two people, plain and simple; two people who end up liking each other and lots and lots of walking. I’m very thankful to Edwards for recognizing the ncessity of the human element, or developing that and making them dimensional, complex, and very real individuals. However, I do feel a bit cheated in the lack of monster candy. Monster action, I understand there are limitations to, but I was looking forward to some marvelous shots of the aliens, which largely stay in shadow or given quick glimpses of. However, when we do get to see them, they do, indeed, look marvelous. Case in point: the gas station scene. Just wowzers.

Not to be overlooked by the spiffy SPFX and gorgeous cinematography, actors Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able are marvelous in their respective roles of Andrew and Samantha. When two actors are thrown in a situation where they’re supposed to sell a giant creature right in front of them and a blossoming romance in about forty-eight hours, it’s a bit of a leap, one McNairy and Able rise to and kick its ass. The monster fan in me was a tad irritated that – in all seriousness – there are no monsters to speak of until the 55 minute mark, but if it wasn’t for that part of me begging for some monster action, I would be completely and utterly captivated by the interactions of Andrew and Samantha. They steal their scenes, and sell the whole package: the monsters, the exhaustion of walking across the Infected Zone, and the attraction.

All in all, MONSTERS is quite the accomplishment and I can’t recommend it enough. Yes, I’m disappointed that the titular monsters don’t play a greater physical presence in the movie (although their impact is felt through every frame, which is also quite the accomplishment, Mr. Edwards), but this flick is just so damn well made and expertly crafted and executed and enjoyable I can’t hold it against them. A great film for a rising talent, and a riveting ride.

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