SXSW FILM 2010
By Dave Campbell | March 27, 2010
Director: Gareth Edwards
Writer: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able
Monsters takes place six years after NASA finds evidence of alien life within our solar system. A probe is launched into space in an attempt to collect physical samples and return them safely back to earth for study…but upon re-entry it crashed over Central America. After the crash, gigantic octo-squid land monsters emerged and continue to multiply up through Mexico which is now quarantined as part of the enormous Infected Zone; both American and Mexican governments attempt to contain the creatures.
The real story comes up as we meet American photojournalist Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) who agrees to escort his boss’ daughter Samantha (Whitney Able) through the infected zone in Mexico, to the safety of the United States border, and back to the arms of her waiting fiancee.
Beautiful countryside locations and genuine locals give a stunning and authentic realism to an otherwise unbelievable story. Finding the right chemistry in our lead actors McNairy and Able, while seamlessly imbedding them in this sci-fi backdrop he creates a relationship story that organically evolves from resentment of their time together into needing one other for survival (physically and emotionally).
Director Gareth Edwards has made an impressive statement as an indie filmmaker with Monsters. Edwards has pulled off a huge looking film with only two actors and the leanest of productions. As director, writer, cinematographer, special effects designer (via his Mac), set designer, he was able to tackle every crew title possible other than having Colin Goudie who tagged along for the ride through Central America as editor. It’s simply astonishing what a four person cast and crew were able to accomplish in film making.
Considering that Monsters is really a dramatic thriller/love story disguised as sci-fi/moster movie, it will be a marketing nightmare once it receives distribution…but all of that won’t matter once people get sucked into this really well made hybrid of a film. It’s pretty mind blowing to look at what it takes (financially and manpower wise) to make a blockbuster movie, and then to see the feat that was met with a sub-indie budget, limited resources, improvised dialogue, and real people living there lives as the extras. More than just a genre film, Monsters is one of the “Little Engines that Could” of SXSW FILM 2010.