Sunday, October 3, 2010

VIFF 2010 - Monsters

Monsters is not the film I was expecting, and that's a good thing. It is a low budget science fiction film that uses the low budget to its advantage.

The movie starts with a title card that explains that a satellite crashed in Mexico and shortly after alien creatures started to appear. Monsters takes place long after this has happened. People have already accepted that they now have to coexist with these new creatures and are doing their best to protect themselves from these monsters. The story is a simple one. Andrew is hired by a wealthy man to find and get his daughter Samantha out of Mexico. After finding her Andrew's goal is to get her to the coast line where she can take a boat back to the United States. They soon discover that there is a deadline on getting to the coast because in two days no more boats will be allowed to enter the port. Of course things transpire that prevent them from leaving by water, and as a result they have to journey to America by land through the infected zone.

This film has been compared unfairly to Cloverfield and District 9. While those films contain a lot of action Monsters contains very little. In fact the alien creatures are rarely even seen. The film focuses more on the relationship of Samantha and Andrew, and the journey that they have to take. This is a definite strength for the film. There is a real feeling of experiencing a journey with these characters as they travel through jungles and desolate towns. The fact that the creatures are rarely seen creates a tension throughout the movie as it is always expected that an alien could appear at any moment.

Not showing a lot of the creatures also helps as the special effects in the film are far from amazing. On the budget the film had they are impressive just not amazing. This is especially apparent during the end scene. Understandably the film gives the audience a good look at the creatures at the very end. This is a sort of apology for being a tease the entire time that I personally didn't need, but is almost required to gain favour with a broad audience.

Monsters will probably not find that broad audience as it is not what people will expect. It is a slow movie, but it does so much for its limited budget that I couldn't believe it was shot for a reported fifteen thousand dollars. Hopefully people will check this movie out because it is worth a watch. I feel like I need to watch it again as the ending is kind of sudden and unsatisfactory, but I liked it so much I would be happy to watch it again. Monsters will be getting a limited release on October 29.

A Good Banana

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