Monsters (2010)

DailyView: Day 57, Movie 99

Gareth Edwards’ feature film debut was Monsters, a science fiction horror movie, working on a low budget. I had not known about this movie until I ran across it on Amazon Prime and it sounded interesting.

Six years before, NASA had sent a probe into space to investigate the possibility of extraterrestrial life. when the probe returned to earth, it crashed in Mexico and giant tentacled creatures appeared. They were isolated in Mexico in an area dubbed ‘The Infected Zone.’

Photojournalist Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) was recruited by his employer to help escort his daughter Sam (Whitney Able) back to the US from Mexico. When they lose their passports, they have to find their way back through the Infected Zone, trying to avoid the dangers surrounding them.

With the demands of the low budget, Edwards provided us with a film that focused on characters and their fears, worries and thoughts of the future. The creatures are kept to a minimum and that makes their appearances all the more compelling. The design of the creatures is spectacular, again maximizing the limits placed on the production.

Both Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able do a great job of bringing their characters to life and enriching them with real problems and character traits. They have a solid chemistry between the two and you can root for them as they are making their way through the Infected Zone.

The Infected Zone is very effective as well because we really do not know what to expect. Some of the horrors that we see are even more emotional because of the mysterious nature of the plot.

I really enjoyed much of the cinematography of Monsters, as there were some wonderful shots using the darkness as well as some beautifully constructed lighting. The imagery of the film makes up for the lack of the big budget. It goers to show that you can absolutely make an effective monster movie on a reasonable budget and have it be every bit as tense and suspenseful as the big budget films are.

Monsters was an unexpected treat and created a really solid tone that kept me on the edge of my seat, unsure what was going to happen next.

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