Gareth Edwards’ low-budget debut Monsters is a genre-blurring tour de force that feels like a road movie, with added elements of romance and science fiction.
Monsters centers on a US journalist (Scoot McNairy) who agrees to escort a shaken tourist (Whitney Able) through an alien-infected zone in Mexico to the supposed safety of the US border.
McNairy and Able, both relative newcomers, provide powerful, realistic and nuanced performances as an unlikely duo thrust together in a bid for survival.
The relationship between Scoot’s While and Able’s Sam feels candid, enchanting; their bubbling chemistry undeniably up front, something that makes the film feel a lot more naturalistic and credible than other, more glamourised alien invasion films.
The special effects, while implemented with a meagre budget, never feel cheap, perhaps as they are second place to the humane story at the forefront, one that’s able to remain authentic throughout.
Edwards’ direction is flawless, creating a beautiful, yet hauntingly frightening, indie film that should antagonise other guerrilla filmmakers of his league.
Monsters is an incredible achievement in more ways than one, showcasing fine performances, an afflicting narrative, wholly real character interactions and special effects that rival those used on Blockbusters.