|Gareth Edwards Director|
Six years after a NASA probe crashes in South America and spreads an alien life form that results in half of Mexico to be quarantined, Monsters tells the story of a journalist who travels with an American tourist from Mexico's quarantine zone to the US border.
Instead of using a steady cam device the director, Gareth Edwards, would use a van and padding to steady the camera.2 More Trivia
A soldier in a convoy hums Ride of the Valkyries.
|Whitney Able||Samantha Wynden|
|Scoot McNairy||Andrew Kaulder|
|Kevon Kane||Josh Jones|
Written and directed by Gareth Edwards, Monsters is a science fiction film based on aliens infecting a part of Mexico and the impact that takes on human society. This film is notorious for being shot on a miniscule budget often using real locations rather than sets, without permission, and using whoever was around as extras.
Six years ago NASA discovered the existance of alien life in our own solar system and sent a probe to bring samples back to Earth. While returning over the air in Mexico the probe breaks apart and crashes. The aliens escape and the combined forces of Mexico and United States governments cannot defeat them and are forced to create an "infection zone" through the heart of Mexico. A US convoy of troops is on patrol through a Mexican with one of the soldiers humming "Ride of the Valkyries" is attacked by a alien creature, the soldiers are quickly pinned down and call in an air strike, we also see two civilians trying to escape the fighting with one man carrying a woman away.
We snap to Andrew, a photographer who works for a wealthy man in the United States who has now changed his job from taking photos to ensuring his daughter makes it back home to the US. Samantha, Andrew's employers daughter, doesn't really want to return home despite having a waiting fiance that her dad seems more excited for her to marry then she is. Andrew and Samantha get on the next train for the eastern coast of Mexico in hopes of catching one of the final ferries to the US. If they don't make it in time it will be another 6 months before another ferry will be allowed to cross.
Before the train can reach its destination its forced to turn back when they find some of the tracks destroyed from all the fighting around the infection zone. Andrew decides they need to get off the train now instead of backtracking too far to make it to the ferry in time. They are forced to hitchhike, seeing scenes of destruction from more alien fighting, before catching the bus into the port. After some searching, and a hefty price, Andrew is able to secure Samantha a ticket aboard the very last ferry out of Mexico for 7am the next morning.
They grab a room in a nearby hotel and wait for Andrew's room to be ready. While Samantha takes a shower Andrew calls home, to his son and wishes him a happy birthday early because he doesn't think he will have access to a phone any tme soon. Once Samantha gets out of the shower the two go out for a night on the town, enjoying some of the local nightlife. But as their night goes on they discover a nearby church with a memorial of the 5,000 who have died from air strikes. The mood changed Samantha decides her night is over and an already drunk Andrew "subtlety" flirts with her and is shot down, furthering his urge to drink.
Andrew wakes up with Samantha knocking on his door inviting him out for some coffee before she leaves for good on the ferry. As Andrew gets dressed Samantha spots the girl still in Andrew's bed and rushes off for the ferry. Andrew follows her in haste, not even putting on pants, asking her why she is leaving. Samantha tells Andrew she can't leave, he still has her passport. Andrew runs back to find her passport but can't and also finds the girl form last night gone.
With Andrew robbed the two return back to the only place that was able to sell them ferry tickets trying desperately to find a way to get Samantha home. They discover another path, on land through the infection zone. The two don't have much to bargain with due to the higher price for the land trip but Samantha offers her engagement ring for tickets for the both of them.
Their new journey takes them through the heart of the infection zone. First on a boat up a river with a few guards. They are handed off to another set of guards to drive the remainder of their journey to the United States border. Their new friends explain why the US armed forces continue to gas areas they know the large aliens not to be, the local trees have been infected. Now growing on the trees are large, mushroom like, plants that glow which use the trees and river to stay alive. Despite the insistent poison gassing by the government, warranting everyone to have gas masks, the alien plants are spreading quickly.
After a peaceful night the guards, Andrew, and Samantha are all woken suddenly by the sound of nearby aliens. They quickly get into the vehicles and try to get away only to have the vehicles destroyed and all of the guards killed. Andrew and Samantha stay hidden in one of the cars and are never seen by the aliens. Setting off the next morning, knowing they aren't very far from the border and the giant wall erected by the US to keep the aliens out, they head out on foot.
While peeing Samantha spots an ancient Mayan temple which the two climb. Spending one more night in the Mexican jungle, the two finally set out on what they think is the final leg of their journey. When they arrive at the only checkpoint for people to enter into the US at they see it abandoned. Arriving in the next town they spot evacuation signs and plenty of damage from bombing runs. The two continue along the evacuation route and spot a still powered gas station and call for help.
The operator alerts a nearby convoy and Andrew and Samantha only have to wait things out. Andrew calls home getting to talk with his son on his birthday, we have since learned that Andrew's son doesn't know he is his father, and Andrew weeps knowing he will be alright and will be able to see his son again. Samantha calls her fiance, finding the conversation with him very unemotional and telling him she is fine and that he doesn't need to come for her. As Samantha waits inside one of the aliens silently approaches and uses in tendrils to enter the gas station. They search for any signs of life and are distracted by the illuminations on a television screen which the tendrils seem to absorb. Samantha spots this and unplugs the TV which causes the alien to go away.
Samantha eventually wanders outside to Andrew where the two watch two of the aliens interact and communicate through sound and bioluminescence. The aliens are content and retreat leaving just in time for the army convoy to arrive. The convoy pulls up just as Samantha admits she doesn't want to return home and the two share a kiss. As the convoy pulls out we assume its the same convoy from the beginning as one of the soldiers hums "Ride of the Valkyries".
With a film crew of only seven the majority of this film was shot in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Texas in just about three weeks. The film's budget was only $500,000 with the cameras costing about $15,000. The extras in the film was usually people from the street convinced to make up their lines as they went along, giving the scenes a more realistic feel to them. Due to this filmmaking limitation and style often made a script useless, forcing most scenes only to hit plot points rather than details.
After the film was done shooting director Gareth Edwards didn't have a variety of scenes with different takes to choose from but rather hours of almost completely unique footage. Edwards also did the majority of the special effects all himself in his own bedroom.
After premiering at South by Southwest the film quickly became a small critical hit. Despite some saying it didn't live up to the monster movie label it did explore deeper meanings and was praised for the end result of the movie especially on such a limited budget.
2010 Fall Movie Preview
Alex and Rorie discuss the upcoming fall film schedule.
This low-budget sci-fi horror film tells the story of an American couple trying to flee the devastation of an alien invasion in Mexico.
|review||Just amazing (4 out of 5)||neo1piv014|
|blog||There WILL be a Sequel to MONSTERS!!||VioletEyedDragon|
|review||A great movie that redefines what can be done with a small buget. (4 out of 5)||MrWright|
|review||Monsters (3 out of 5)||HobbitCy|
|news||It Came From My Instant Queue: Monsters||Pope|
|forum||It Came From My Instant Queue: Monsters||Pope|
|blog||Best of 2010 (Top 20 or 10)||VioletEyedDragon|
|news||The Year in Movie Posters -- The Best!||Alex|