The plot about alien intruders in a quarantined infection zone triggers a definite déjà vu feel after the 2009 blockbuster District 9. But if you expect straightforward horror, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Using the term ‘monsters’ for giant octopuses emitting whale sounds is a bit of a stretch to say the least. So that (surprise?) leaves us with human beings for the villains, as an American photojournalist goes to Mexico to witness first hand the destruction caused by an alien invasion six years ago but ends up with the task of bringing his editor’s daughter home safely through the quarantined zone.
The tempo is by no means Hollywood horror movie, and Monsters will not exceed the best of the recent action crop, but the mix of alien invasion, politics, personal drama and a steady tension throughout the movie – although it’s never really released in a firework climax – is entertaining. And it’s all carried out well with some great performances by the two lead actors and their intriguing surroundings on their journey through monster-zone.
So although Gareth Edwards doesn’t follow through on the example set by his characters and takes a leap of faith out of the cinematic ‘safe zone’, it’s not at all a bad big-screen debut.
Monsters | Directed by Gareth Edwards (USA 2010) with Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able. Opens December 9.