The word “monsters” is wonderfully vague. It can mean vampires or werewolves or any sort of creature that mysteriously stands in your way. In the new film by Gareth Edwards, the monsters are aliens. They are not here to make diplomatic communication or to blow up the planet. They are similar to animals in that, they just found a new environment and a new threat.
Years after they landed around Mexico they have started to spread their terrain. People around the world call it the “Infected Zone” and scientists are devoted to calculate how quickly it will grow. Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able) is a young heiress who wants to return to America. She is going to be married soon and her father wants her home. Andrew Kaulder is a photographer in Mexico who photographs the grim images because that is what sells. In order to appease Samantha’s father who owns a newspaper, he agrees to get her back to American and through the Infected Zone.
When Paranormal Activity was made for such a low budget people were impressed but not surprised. It’s a movie in one location with trick effects instead of complicated ones. Monsters is reported to just have cost $15,000 and that is incredible. The two characters travel through beautiful and frightening terrain and every once in awhile they catch glimpses of why they should be afraid. The CGI is fantastic and looked better than big budget films like Clash of the Titans.
Unlike other films of its genre, it’s structured more like last year’s Sin Nombre. The performances are more naturalistic and that allows for more honest intimacy between them. It is this sort of care that Edwards puts into this movie that makes this special. The plot is nothing really extraordinary, but it has such a delicate atmosphere that feels fresh. There are all of these opportunities to examine this changed world from a smaller level. It shows how individuals are affected, not world superpowers.
I don’t want him to be in charge of the next Hollywood disaster movie; I want him to continue with this niche he’s created. This chance to have personal films with an exemplary use of special effects. This does not mean Hollywood should pull a Paranormal Activity 2 and quadruple the budget for no reason. Having it low means Edwards gets to make the movie he wants to make and that’s what allows Monsters to feel special.
Monsters is currently available OnDemand and in select theatres across the country.