Film, Action and adventure
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It would be sad if the story of how British filmmaker Gareth Edwards created his captivating, micro-budget sci-fi film was to obscure its far greater achievement, being as it is a seamless blending of romance, road movie and monster flick. Shot guerrilla-style on location in Guatemala, Belize and Mexico – with two lead actors and local non-professionals improvising dialogue within a loose structure – ‘Monsters’ immerses the audience in a near-future world where the Mexican population has become blasé about the destruction wrought by giant, squid-like alien beings.

A few years after a Nasa space probe broke up on re-entry, a quarantined ‘infected zone’ stretches across Mexico to the US border – and it is through this zone that frustrated photojournalist Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) must escort his boss’s daughter, Sam (Whitney Able). This exhausting, epic journey involves trains, pick-up trucks, backhanders, boats, guards and ominous sounds from the jungle.

Desperate comparisons have been made with ‘District 9’ and ‘Cloverfield’ (not least by the film’s own marketing), but the digitally enhanced texture of the atmospheric ‘Monsters’ – with its weatherbeaten signs, barely glimpsed creatures and edgy encounters – evokes a sweaty, nervous reality rather than a clean, hard-edged artificiality. With the notable exception of the moving monster climax, the best scenes are the quiet, human ones, such as Kaulder flirting with Sam in a seedy hotel while scenes of monster mayhem are only glimpsed on a fuzzy black-and-white TV set. There’s an implicit political dimension too, with constant American bombing raids and a border wall designed to keep unwanted aliens out of the US.

By: Nigel Floyd


Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday December 3 2010
Duration: 93 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Gareth Edwards
Screenwriter: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Whitney Able
Scoot McNairy

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:4
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This was the worse shit movie I have ever watched. Stay clear of this painful piece of shit unless you want to lose minutes of your life for no reason. I don't even make or write movies and I could've came up with something better. These two people are focused on fucking the whole time throughout the movie, while monsters are all around, of which you very rarely get to see. Shoot the writer, shoot the director, if he did both double tap to the head execution style. Really, what fucking production studio sat down, watched this shit, and said yeah, let's put this out? Kill yourselves

I found this film hypnotising a lot of the way through, the best and most moving example being the 2 'creatures' apparently making love at the gas station near the end of the film. I found that scene quite beautiful and I liked the main characters. They had faults, as we all do, but they were both products of their own culture and respective upbringings. Surely there was a message in there somewhere about the contrasting poverty in Mexico and the affluence of the USA, who weren't shown helping the Mexican 'aliens', rather being more intent on guarding their own borders. How much damage and death was due to the creatures and how much to American air strikes? Caulder refers to one such air strike during the film. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but I wondered whether 'Monsters' of the title refers to more than the creatures themselves. In this sense I tend to agree with dragster in that I think the script could have been better. However, perhaps we are meant to think and draw our own conclusions.

Hated the lead actors and characters. Massive plot holes. I'd have been perfectly happy just to see the last fifteen minutes, but even then, you half expected Richard Herring to pop up and say "Aahhhhhh, see, not like you thought you nazi!".

What a romantic monster film. I'm in tears. Enjoyed it even more than The Host. Which is brilliant.

What a romantic monster film. I'm in tears. Enjoyed it even more than The Host. Which is brilliant.

I was bored. I wanted the monsters to eat the lead actors after the first half hour, and would have been happy if Julia Bradbury had taken their place and completed the walk. CGI was good, but I am not interested in how the film is made - not.

The dialogue in this is awful, the acting is wooden, the script is boring and unrealistic. What a waste of time.

No one seems to be bothered by the small inconsistency of the film set on the border region between US and Mexico - an area characterised almost entirely by arid desert plains and moutnains - and the action taking place largely amid rain forest or the nonsense of finding a jungle-covered Maya temple on the Rio Grande? Otherwise an intersting, original and unusual film

Ummm. I liked the locations/sets, thought the supporting cast performed admirably and that the two leads did well enough ASSUMING that you were not supposed to have any sympathy for either of them, the photojerk being depicted as somebody I would not want to touch with yours and the (forced engagement?) poor-little-rich-girl being a non-entity. My problem with the film is that, given the setting, the story was trivial, did not exibit any logic and did not come to any normal conclusion. Since the octopii did not seem to have any ranged powers why did not the girl fly home? Why was there not more explanation of why the octopii were not dealt with quickly by conventional forces? Where were all the intermediate sized monsters (in vast quantities given the copious fungal/egg-sacks)? Why were the monster supposedly confined to Mexico given that they were amphibious and had already reached the coast? I'm all for the theory that an SF film can have a ridiculous premise, but that the story should develop rationally from that point but this film is devoid of any such logic. Comparisons with Cloverfield and District 9? Cloverfield agreed, another crap film that provides no explanations but which does at least have the decency to kill off all the useless characters that have been introduced. District 9 is in a different league, I would look forward to continuation of that story. As it is I look back at Monsters and declare it to be a waste of time, a shame since with a different script it is obvious that the crew could have produced something worthwhile.

I found it an engaging and interesting take on an alien theme, Good .

Liked the fact that it took a different perspective than other 'alien' type movies. Envolving alot of time towards the main characters which was nice but the title MONSTERS is misleading.3* at most but can relate to other reviews being 1 or two stars

It was horrifyingly boring, and i haven't been tempted to walk out of a film until this one. No characterisation, poor plot, lots of shots of "infected zone" poster, no substance. Avoid at all costs.

Distinctive if not entirely satisfying genre mish-mash. But why is it that extra-terrestrials in movies so often have tentacles?

A road movie but not a very good one. The leads are empty and the male character's behaviour often unconvincing. There’s a scene in the forbidden zone where a crashed plane is being dragged through a river by one of the aliens which reminded me rather of Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky Brothers. The acting here's ok, nothing wrong with it but the parts aren’t good. Couldn't work out if some point was being made but the leads’ moronic selfishness is quite off-putting by the end. No idea what the makers were thinking. If the film has a point, it must be a fairly nihilistic one because the film itself is visually-efficient but ‘uhmuman’. Was it really only 93 minutes? Felt like a couple of hours.

Worthy of the hype. Great naturalistic performances and a satisfying visual and emotional journey. 9/10