Astonishing science fiction thriller from debut director Gareth Edwards betters both Cloverfield and District 9
Young British filmmaker Gareth Edwards’ astonishing science fiction thriller combines the immersive excitement of Cloverfield with the astute political allegory of Distrtict 9, and, far from being a rip-off, is actually a much better film than either of those blockbusters. That would be a great achievement in its own right, but the revelation that not only did Edwards write and direct his debut but he also shot it, sourced the production design and created the visual effects marks the arrival of a supremely promising new talent.
Set in the near future, six years after the Earth has succumbed to an extra-terrestrial invasion, Monsters tells the story of a cynical American journalist (Scoot McNairy) who reluctantly agrees to escort a traumatised tourist, his boss’ daughter (Whitney Able), through an infected zone in Mexico to the US border. Thrown together by close encounters of the alien kind, the odd couple fall for one another and their romantic union offers them a startling new perspective on the gigantic squid-like invaders.
As a spooky and special effects-driven thriller, Monsters works remarkably well. And filming in Mexico, Edwards makes extraordinary use of several eye-catching locations. But what’s most striking about the film is the way in which it smartly undermines audience expectations by overturning genre conventions. Terrific.
General release from Fri 3 Dec.