MonstersSeptember 30, 2010
Six years after Earth has suffered an alien invasion a cynical journalist agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through an infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.
Release Year: 2010
Rating: 6.4/10 (34,320 voted)
Critic's Score: 63/100
Stars: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able, Mario Zuniga Benavides
Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon re-entry over Central America. Soon after, new life form began to appear and half of Mexico was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain "the creatures"…… Our story begins when a US journalist agrees to escort a shaken tourist through the infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.
Mario Zuniga Benavides
Release Date: 30 September 2010
Filming Locations: Belize
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $20,508
(31 October 2010)
(26 December 2010)
Did You Know?
The music playing while Kaulder and Wynden wander through the Mexican market is a song featured on the Voyager Probe's Golden Record, "El Cascabel".
When the two characters arrive at the deserted town on the US side of the border, and the camera pans the town and focuses on the evacuation side, you can see a pickup truck driving down the road. (This is likely the result of using open sets for filming, which allowed for the shooting areas local population to be accidentally captured in a shot.)
Six years ago… NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A space probe was launched to collect samples but broke up during re-entry over Mexico. Soon after new life forms began to appear and half of the was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today… The Mexican & US military still struggle to contain 'the creatures'…
Less like a geographical reboot of D-9 and more like an art-house Cloverfield or a blockbuster Stalker
While there have been plenty of valid comparisons made between this
film and last year's sci-fi hit District – 9 (due solely to the fact
that the two films share an admittedly similar global concept; that of
aliens landing and being contained within a restricted zone as a forced
but entertaining allegory for racial disharmony. There the zone was in
central South Africa and here it is the northernmost section of Mexico,
the borderlands.) I think the media have missed the much more obvious
filmic connections. To my mind this film is in fact less like a
geographical reboot of D-9 and more like an art-house Cloverfield or
perhaps a blockbuster Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky's epically sparse
sci-fi classic). While the concept and metaphor certainly match that of
District 9 the closest the execution sways it further towards a
combination of the latter two examples.
Instead of attempting to tell the story of a fictional universe using a
number of cipher characters like D-9, this film instead tells the story
of its two leads by way of its alien infestation. The titular monsters
certainly are an integral force in crafting and driving the films
narrative but they are not its real focus, this is where the two films
differ. Instead we are made to follow American investigate journalist
Colbert who is tasked by his employer to find and then accompany his
daughter through the infected zone and into the United States before
the beginning of the creature's active season.
It's a sparse plot and one that leads to a lot less action than you
would expect, but it does work as the spinal centre of the film.
Instead of confronting the creatures at every turn, discovering their
origin, their weakness, their queen and then eventually using their
knowledge to develop a dues ex machina and save the day like the big
damn heroes of every similar film, these two simply exist in the
universe like we do ours; as everyday citizens living their everyday
lives. That's not to say though that the film is in any way banal; in
fact their journey through the zone allows for a lot of stunning shots,
shocking stories and silent terror, it's just that these occur in a
different tense then we are used to. We are, like the protagonist
Colbert, journalists in this world; we follow in the wake of the story,
catching occasional glimpses of it from afar but mainly focusing on who
and what it leaves behind.
The monsters, their destruction and the alternate world that they
destroy are all filtered through the protagonists before they reach us
upon the screen. It is their reactions to the events that elicit
responses in us and their responses that in turn become our emotions.
It is essential that the two leads be well crafted in order for this
method to work. Thankfully then, they are; Hitting that perfect ratio
of realism, stereotype, flaw and likability. They are the kind of
characters that you would happily follow within the comparatively banal
confines of a drama and so here, in this realm of heightened stakes,
they become doubly interesting. The real surprise of the film for me
was just how enjoyable, and oftentimes moving, it was to take this trip
with the leads; to the point that by the time the ending rolled around
I almost echoed their calls of 'I don't want to go home'. That dreaded
disillusionment, the return to drudgery after a distinctly powerful
event is something I can really understand but it is something uncommon
to see in cinemas. Edwards isn't the only person to be thanked for this
though; while his writing is great it's the two lead performances that
are really essential and I think these two will be ones too watch in
While I've made it quite clear that personally I preferred the human
side of the story – that I could take or leave the monsters in
comparison i know there are many others around here who will not feel
the same, others that are in it for the monsters (Spaulds certainly
comes to mind). While I wouldn't advise taking that particular approach
with this particular film, I don't think any of you creature features
that do will be disappointed with what you see and yes, you do see.
The creatures are as well designed and animated as the characters. They
feel totally alien to this world yet retain a certain sense of
plausibility, as if they could feasibly belong to some other. Their
power is also very well handled, being threatening enough in every
situation but invincible in none. There is then a consistency to them
that doesn't exist in a lot of other creatures, which sometimes feel
like they are acting in accordance with the plot rather than their own
rules or reality. While this may get some of you salivating I have to
say again that well designed or no these creatures are little more than
an external force, they exist off screen much more than on.
It is then, an ironically titled film I guess because the Monsters of
the title are anything but central. I think the real test should be
whether or not you would go and see this film were it called 'Humans'.
Those that do, more specifically those that make their way all the way
through to the final act, will be in for a treat as the film has a
handful of utterly sublime moments. The ending itself was a little
abrupt but I think it's pretty clever, probably warranting a second
watch. Definitely warranting a first watch.