EIFF Review: Monsters

89F93DA3-9089-4F17-9E7C-649FCD9BAB21.jpgMonsters versus Aliens? The title of this movie is a bit misleading, since the adversaries for our young duo are not monsters from our own world, but aliens from another. Unfortunately, Aliens is one of the most successful sci-fi movies of all times, so Monsters it was.

The comparison to James Cameron’s film is a fairly apt, however. Monsters director Gareth Edwards’ background is in visual effects. The monsters have the towering supremacy of the creatures from War of the Worlds mixed with an organic translucent glow of Avatar’s Pandora. It’s pretty startling to realise that this film was made for less than a million dollars, and whose crew were outnumbered by drivers while shooting.

Like James Cameron, Edwards seems keen to push the boat out as far as he can in terms of visual effects. It’ll be exciting to see what he can do with what will presumably be a much bigger budget for his next movie.

The plot is fairly straight forward. Kaulder is a photographer for a major newspaper, and he’s been asked to make sure, Sam, his boss’ daughter gets back to America from Mexico safely. The monsters have been in central America for around five years, and people have become used to their presence, although still terrified by it.

For a movie called Monsters, viewers might be surprised how little they appear. This isn’t merely the action movie the title suggests, instead it combines romance and human drama as it focusses on the developing relationship between its two leads.

The beauty of the movie for me was seeing all these elements come together and never being sure where the movie was going to take you next: either in terms of story or emotion. The movie has the kind of believable quality District 9 had; showing you precisely how the invasion of these monsters has impacted normal people’s lives.

Monsters had me hooked from start to finish. The story, characters, world and visual effects created by Edwards fully justifying his award for Best New Director at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year. It’s so enjoyable and unique I think this, of all the movies at the festival, will be its breakaway hit.

While at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, I got the chance to interview Justin Hall, the assistant editor on Monsters. Read the full interview here

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One response to “EIFF Review: Monsters

  1. Johannes de Silencio

    disagree. It doesn’t work as a romance/road-movie nor as a sci-fi monster movie, it doesn’t know what it is or what it’s about. The central couple are unlikeable and I had no interest in their characters or their relationship. The monsters are hardly in it at all and when they do show-up, the creature design is not very interesting, they’re effectively big glow-in-the-dark octopuses. Nice cinematography and impressive special FX for the meagre budget, but in my opinion, an average film.

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