Sep 30, 2010
Setting flame to SXSW this year is Gareth Edward's Monsters, an independent hell-on-earth science fiction film seating both the aspirations of the best of District 9 and The Mist. What Monsters does is quite energy-efficient and relaxing, taking a big budget ideal and producing the film for a mere $15,000 using natural lighting, two reoccurring cast members, and a slew of volunteers to partake in this interstellar experiment in outwards community film-making all on location without too much permission. Refusing to view any trailers for a promise of a fable that I'd appreciate more with no prior indication of the events to transpire, Monsters came as quite a shock once I discovered how passe the realization of extraterrestrial Cthulhu life was for mini-budget Edwards and his DV dreams. The realization of the creature design and the likening effect that they produced on camera blew my expectations out of the water. If Gareth Edwards could create such an airtight romance surrounded by alien-organic infection then surely SyFy could fund something with double the cost besides a sweeping retelling of Sharkdactyl vs. Dinosloth only to appease autistic B-movie "fans." To put it simply, Monsters is in most regards a symbiotic epic, in which taking in the cost of shooting, provides a vast amount of appreciation reserved for the surprising skill of acting Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able are convinced to convey. Not to mention the conspiracies between disillusioned Mexican film viewers, their rage towards a theorized "final solution" to border patrol by deploying alien life in their zone of dusty squalor.
With much zeal does Gareth Edwards sidestep from adapting either of the films it's been convicted of "stealing" from. While The Mist does carbon-copy the same tentacled beasts imagined by Lovecraft, the only charge Monsters is guilty of is presenting us with face-time to these gorgeously animated octopi. Whereas Darabont's The Mist ended on such a note of helplessness while we acknowledge such large beasts compared to a quaint and rusted station wagon. Monsters doesn't feature the alien apartheid that District 9 is commended for, adorning its label with awards and praise which in a similar situation, Monsters might not be as soaked with praise but victim to argumentum ad infinitum. District 9 is made for the action connoisseur and racial inequalities put to the test of bizarre alien weaponry while Monsters captures an entirely desolate and benign world of limitless terror at every turn. In a bold strike to extinguish pacing and the needlessness of a constant quick pace to further the flow of visual stimuli, Monsters dutifully takes its time to create a stream of animated creature consciousness rivaled by the chaotic preachings of the creatures starring time in the unfairly maligned Cloverfield. The one ideal to grasp onto is that the final verdict for your enjoyment of Monsters is left up to your imagination as much of the terror and mystique is derived from the unknown.
Amidst the chaos is where Monsters finds the tale of our two and only characters. Not to disregard the mentioned roles of fiance and father but Monsters caters to a bond grown over mistakes and mildly genial embrace of the possibility of death. I often found myself bound between loving the film purely for creature-feature antics but then often sat in a quiet embrace with a glass of brandy waiting for one of these classic lovetypes to further the romantic congregation. Not to expel my "man card" but Monsters was a quality monster film while at the same time digressing towards a womanly atmosphere, a monster film in which both genders could embrace as their own. Quite an impressive achievement for someone who created this particular shortcut towards destruction of body and society on a laptop. Other than the technical achievements that Monsters documents in the smegma-stricken underbelly of what's considered "indie" in this day and age, a fragile and simple story is told with a fervor for science. Reportedly, Edwards was inspired by both Jurassic Park and the possibility of life on one of Jupiter's moons, Europa. Title card mentioned NASA probe with findings broke apart over Mexico infesting forests with sentient fungi and spaghetti monsters, hardly the makings of a science-fiction classic but surprise is a dish best served vegetated.
Monsters is far from perfect but given the budget and the lengths that this amateur film maker went to capture his vision of escort-love-suicide betwixt a jungle of mysterious monsters, Monsters preforms favorably with still so much steam in its veins. A theatrical experience might be recommended for maximum Mexican anarchy but Monsters is definitely a film in which you must rewatch the beginning after the end unless you retained the brief semblance of a conclusion thrust in your cerebellum at the dawn of the film experience. Even breathtaking moments such as the border cross reveals a terror in stucco that seems to be a fantasy including this "American dream" we live out to our full extent. The vulnerability that we are actually victim to is enough to drive a striking narrative into even the sleaziest horror film e.g. Zombi 2 and Jason Takes Manhattan. Believing that an extraterrestrial force could overrun our land of the free and the brave is enough to drive even the most liberal-minded into a schemata of insanity. Pointlessly poetic and honest, Monsters rivals most science fiction to be released this year and I hope this euphoric brain chemistry never leaves the star-crossed lovers Andrew and Sam despite their pragmatic plight.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 7:54 PM
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