Film Review: Excellent ‘Monsters’ Finds Humanity in Creature Feature

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CHICAGO – “Monsters” is a unique take on the giant creature genre that focuses more on the people below than the aliens above. Gareth Edwards’ highly-buzzed film could easily be read as a parable for life in an increasingly-dangerous, post-9/11 world and that ambitious subtext alone makes it one of the more intellectually captivating genre films of the year but it’s also shockingly-touching. With two strong central performances, a wonderfully genuine style, and some daring filmmaking decisions, “Monsters” will have a Godzilla-sized following develop over the next few years. See it in theaters or On Demand before all of your friends tell you to rent it.

Edwards’ drama – and it really is more of a drama than any other genre – conceives a world years after our planet was unexpectedly visited by aliens. And not your cute little E.T. aliens nor easily-subdued aliens like those in “District 9.” No, the creatures in “Monsters” live up to the film’s title. They resemble giant jellyfish or spiders that could dwarf most buildings and swat down fighter planes. The creatures arrived after we sent a probe into space and it returned with something definitely alive.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Monsters” in our reviews section.

The terrifying creatures have taken up residence in Mexico and turned a large portion of it into an “Infected Zone”. The United States has put up a wall to try and keep them from migrating north (political subtext may be obvious in that sentence alone but it’s not over-played) and getting through the Infected Zone requires significant amounts of cash and firepower.

Into this daring set-up, Edwards drops two characters – a photographer named Andrew (Scott McNairy) and a woman named Samantha (Whitney Able) who happens to be the daughter of Andrew’s wealthy boss. Andrew is ordered to chaperone Samantha back from Mexico to the United States safely. Naturally, there are a few setbacks and a relationship develops along the way. Yes, this is arguably the first monster-based romantic drama, not unlike “Before Sunrise” meets “District 9.”

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Monsters” review.

‘Monsters’ stars Scott McNairy and Whitney Able. It was written and directed by Gareth Edwards. It opens at the Landmark Century on November 19th, 2010 and is currently available on demand. It is rated R.

Photo credit: Magnolia

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