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After six years, they’re no longer aliens. They’re residents. 

Year: 2010 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Gareth Edwards 
Starring: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able  
An image from Monsters

When NASA believes they’ve found evidence of other life in our solar system, they send a probe to investigate, only for the probe to return and crash into Mexico. Afterwards, strange new life forms are found, and as people begin to panic most of Mexico is quarantined to protect America. Six years later, Andrew Kaulder (McNairy), a photojournalist, is tasked with helping his employer’s daughter, Samantha Wynden (Able) to return to the safety of America. However, after the two lose their means of transportation through the infected zone, they are forced to trek to America themselves, whilst coming to terms with the truth of the ‘invasion.’

Both McNairy and Able are relatively unknown actors, but certainly seem to be ready for the Hollywood big time. Each plays off the other well, but also makes their own characters three-dimensional. The lack of a main cast doesn’t detract from the film, but rather highlights the true stars, the titular “Monsters”. That they don’t appear for a majority of the story is one of the few critiscms of the film, but this draws on a technique that was effective in Cloverfield, and still works here.

Gareth Edwards does an admirable job directing his first film, switching between standard filming and the “shakycam” style pioneered in The Blair Witch Project. Though made on a reported budget of less than $500,000, Monsters still feels like a big budget project at heart, and Edwards manages to squeeze several interesting commentaries into the film, including insights into the immigration issues between America and Mexico.

In short, Monster s melds the social commentary of District 9 and the feel of Cloverfield into an enjoyable movie. The inexperience of the cast shouldn’t put you off this clever, likable and very powerful movie.

Tom Freeman

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Screenings of this film:

2010/2011 Spring Term (35mm)
2010/2011 Spring Term (35mm)