Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon re-entry over Central America. Soon after, new life form began to appear and half of Mexico was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain "the creatures"...... Our story begins when a US journalist agrees to escort a shaken tourist through the infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border. Written by
The film was shot entirely on location: any settings featured in the film were real locations often used without permission, asked in advance, and all the films extras were just people who happened to be there at the time. See more »
Car plates are from Guatemala in some scenes. Noticeably in the truck carrying the protagonists to the US border. See more »
Six years ago... NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A space probe was launched to collect samples but broke up during re-entry over Mexico. Soon after new life forms began to appear and half of the was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today... The Mexican & US military still struggle to contain 'the creatures'...
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This was the film I was most looking forward to during my one day excursion to Frightfest and it was everything I hoped for. Monsters takes place several years after a NASA space probe that has collected alien micro-organisms has crashed in Mexico, turning much of the country into a walled in no-go zone. New life forms have developed there, among them gigantic, tentacled creatures who have devastated much of the country. A photo journalist who reports on the crisis takes on the job to get the newspaper publishers daughter back to the US. After their tickets for the last ferry out get stolen, they have to make their way across the "infected" zone.
Many people will be expecting a Distric 9 or Cloverfield style sci-fi action film from the trailer, but this is more like Before Sunrise meets Godzilla, with the emphasis on the love story. The British director gave a Q&A after the screening and he said he was aiming to make an offbeat romantic indie film like Lost in Translation against an unusual backdrop. It's certainly an interesting genre-hybrid and I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. This was shot on a tiny budget by its director, who then did all the effects by himself at on a computer, and it looks like a gazillion bucks Hollywood movie. With effects technology having become so accessible, this maybe where the future of genre films lies as Hollywood blockbusters become ever more interchangeable. Monsters is a powerfully atmospheric, beautiful looking film with great locations and the effects are excellent, but this is primarily a road move and a love story. There isn't an awful lot of monster action in the film and only a couple of scenes that actively involve the creatures, though they feel ever present via the devastation visible everywhere. I could sense some of the more hardcore horror fans who were cheering during the gory I Spit On Your Grave remake that went before, getting restless.
The writing is pretty good, if not quite in the same league as top indie film romances it aims for. The films only failing is that for an indie romance, the characters are never quite as well explored as they would be in a Lost in Translation or Before Sunrise. The two main characters could have been a little more memorable, though the two lead actors are likable enough and have the chemistry required that made me want them to get together (the director revealed he cast two actors who are a couple for real).
In the end the thing that makes the film stand out is the fact that it takes such an unusual approach to the giant monster movie genre. By treating its genre trappings in an low key, almost subordinate way, it feels very real. The giant squid like monsters are very impressive in the few scenes where they do make an appearance and the characters and story were involving enough to draw me in.
In the way it foregrounds the characters it's a genuinely unusual special effects film the, type Hollywood used to make in the 70s, when Close Encounters was as a much a film about a wrenching marriage break down as it was about UFOs. It has stayed with me unlike few films I've seen this year and I can't wait to see it again.
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