By James Burbidge

Running time:
Directed by:
Gareth Edwards
Whitney Able, Scoot McNairy

Monsters is full of ambivalences: British, but set in America; low budget, but with high production values; visually ambitious, but with a wonderfully small story.

Set some time shortly in the future, a probe returning from Europa (one of Jupiter’s moons) has previously crashed into Central America. Spores from the probe’s samples found a happy environment and grew into giant, destructive monsters. Contained in the ‘infected zone’ they have become, not a terrifying world event, but a localised natural disaster. America erects walls and sends in the airforce to destroy any creatures appearing near their border whilst the Mexican’s on the far side simply try to get on with their lives. Photo-journalist Andrew Kaulder has spent 3 years on the Mexican side of the zone trying to get a shot of the monsters to put him on the cover of Time magazine. When his bosses’ daughter is injured in an attack Kaulder is tasked with getting her home, even if it means taking her through the infected zone.

Thus begins a story that is personal and intimate – two people travelling with potentially untrustworthy companions in a territory where they are under the constant threat of attack are bound to end up relying on each other.

Writer/Director Gareth Edward comes from an extensive and award-winning background in CGI animation and these skills allow him to balance the film so carefully between a love story and a monster story. Seen mostly in glimpses at night the monsters are vast, eerie and unfathomable. Their presence has a profound effect on society, but people adapt and merely adjust their routines to the migrations of these vast aliens. Edwards CGI knowledge isn’t just put to use on the monsters however, as shots of empty jungle and bare roads are filled with the results of encounters with the aliens: crashed aircraft, stranded boats and overgrown hotels; whilst, tanks and military jets pass through intermittently. With all that filling the background, the foreground is left to show the burgeoning relationship between two Americans tourists stranded in another country. The slow tension of their relationship never feels forced or hackneyed, helped no doubt by the real-life relationship of the actors and the improvisational nature of the performances.


Gareth Edwards has perhaps done a disservice to low-budget filmmakers: his money:results ratio is far beyond anything else competing in the genre. Stylish, intimate, and wondrous, this is a British film to make you proud.

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About The Author

James Burbidge James performs a plethora of tasks for Raindance; writing articles, editing the newsletter, managing Twitter, helping on courses, organising volunteers and running the script services are but a few of the ones he is allowed to tell you about.
When he isn’t daydreaming about daylight he watches films (well, duh!) reads a bit, writes a bit and kicks arse at ultimate Frisbee.




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