Blu-Ray Review: Fantastic Genre Flick ‘Monsters’ Gets Stunning Release

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CHICAGO – It is truly wonderful to see a great genre flick get the HD treatment that it deserves not based on box office gross but on quality of the film itself and the sure-to-be-massive cult audience that will eventually find “Monsters,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. This is one of the best science fiction films of the last several years. Most of you didn’t see it in theaters. Check it out on Blu-ray.

Not unlike “District 9” but with different dramatic goals, “Monsters” is a low-budget creature feature. It’s a piece that’s more interested in the people below than the aliens above and could easily be read as a commentary on an increasingly-dangerous, post-9/11 world or even a piece on our nation’s growing problem with immigration. It is an intellectually captivating film that also works on an emotional level, developing into something more genuinely touching than the genre has seen in some time. It is a cult classic in the making, a film that I can guarantee you someone you know will someday recommend. Be the leader, not the follower.

Photo credit: Magnolia

It is almost unfair to call “Monsters” sci-fi or horror; it is more of a drama. Written and directed by Gareth Edwards, “Monsters” conceives a world years after our planet was unexpectedly visited by aliens in the shape of GIANT creatures, the size of skyscrapers. They resemble giant jellyfish or the face-huggers from “Alien” blown up to the size of the Hancock Building. But are they harmful or merely humongous?

Monsters was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 1st, 2011.
Monsters was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 1st, 2011.
Photo credit: Magnolia

Either way, they 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.”

“Monsters” develops so many interesting dynamics that it always keeps the viewer intrigued. There’s the romance, the cultural commentary, and the straight-up horror present in the thought that Andrew and Samantha, two characters we grow to like immensely through excellent performances by McNairy and Able, could get squashed, even accidentally, by a giant monster. Rarely has a world of potential danger been presented so expertly in the genre. There’s always a sense of dread or the potential for disaster in every scene of “Monsters.” It’s great.

And the Blu-ray release is stunning. It features a documentary on the making of the film that’s practically feature-length along with deleted scenes, interviews, and pieces on the visual effects and the film’s presence at Comic Con. Rarely has a film had more extensive and informative special features without already being recognized as a “classic.” Credit to Magnolia for delivering what they know fans will eventually find this movie and fall for “Monsters.”

Special Features:
o Commentary with Gareth Edwards, Scoot McNairy, and Whitney Able
o Deleted and Extended Scenes
o HDNet: A Look at Monsters
o Behind the Scenes of Monsters
o The Edit
o Visual Effects
o Interview with Gareth Edwards
o Interview with Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able
o New York Comic Con Discussion with Gareth Edwards
o Digital Copy

‘Monsters’ stars Scott McNairy and Whitney Able. It was written and directed by Gareth Edwards. It was released by Magnolia on Blu-ray and DVD on February 1st, 2011. It is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

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