Hidden Gem – Monsters

Hidden Gem – A film from the recent past you might have overlooked or didn’t know about, but you should check it out.

From 2010, Monsters follows a photojournalist transporting his bosses daughter from mexico, across the boarder back to the US, but there is a bit wall between the two countries now, and the wall is there to keep out the aliens, huge scary tentacled extra-terrestrial aliens, that reside in the infected zone.

Monsters is a fantastic alien invasion movie, it is tense, has some great action scenes, interesting characters, good use of location and when we do eventually see the monsters ( which their appearance is timed perfectly)  they look impressive and imposing.

What makes Monsters even more impressive is that the film was made on a tiny budget of half a million pounds, it looks a hell of a lot more money than that. The framing and cinematography are very impressive throughout.
It is a very impressive use of the budget. It probably helps that director Gareth Evans also acted as writer, cinematographer, production designer, and completed the visual effects from his bedroom.  Even though Monsters didn’t much of an audience, somebody saw it as Evans has gone one to direct, Godzilla and Rogue One.

While the film can be considered an alien invasion, found footage and road movie all at once none of the the tropes it uses feel tired. It is greatly helped that the film is anchored by the relationship between the two main characters, especially as they are the only characters for about 80% of the run time. You really feel the developing emotions between the two (the chemistry between the two is natural as the two leads Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able are married in real life).

We aren’t really given a lot of backstory for the alien invasion, but it has become a part of daily life. It is left to the audience to interpret a few things that are not given answers directly.

For budgetary reasons, we only get a good look at the aliens at the end of the film, but even this feels natural and the aliens themselves are majestic, quite graceful and a little bit scary.

The idea of a wall between Mexico the USA is also somewhat topical now. The knowledge that the aliens are not aggressive unless attacked and always being trouble when the military are around also feels like it could be interpreted for todays audience.

Monsters is a great sci-fi road movie, made doubly impressive once you realise the small budget it had.