I watched Monsters last night without knowing quite what to expect.
It was actually one of those GV Surprise Screening things, and I’d bought the ticket on a whim, on an evening when I had a whole lot of time to kill, and a whole lot of nothing to do.
It was the only indie film showing at GV anyway, and after reading the premise (photographer escorts boss’s daughter through alien infested Mexico to safety) I figured that it was still better than The Ghosts Must Be Crazy and the handful of god awful romcoms screening at the time.
So there I was, hoping that it’d be another mindless, B-grade horror flick, but at least one I might actually not hate, and actually looking forward to letting my overtaxed cranium shut down for an hour or two, when I was quickly proven wrong.
Oh so very wrong.
Sure, it looks helluva like a low budget, sci-fi horror flicks with rubber monsters (in this case tentacle monsters) in the first 10 minutes, but that’s where all semblance of BAD stops.
That’s when you discover that it’s the first 10 minutes are an elaborate ruse by the director, Gareth Edwards, to contextualize the rest of the story and tell you what it’s NOT.
And if it’s not about monsters with tentacles menacing the poor, clueless sod of a male, white protagonist, or doing nasty things to the obviously blonde female love interest, then what’s Monsters about, ya think?
As it turned out, Monsters proved to be a powerful tour de force, one that combines the road movie with elements of romance, whilst putting a spotlight on cross-border politics in Mexico and the US, photojournalism ethics, and our definition of what’s alien, and what’s not.
Being a photographer, I also found the plight of the male lead, who claims no publication pays him to shoot what what he likes (which is, of course, true), and how he’s forced to shoot suffering, or to stage his shots so they can sell (for up to 50 grand, even. O.o ) pretty resonant.
Ending was a bit abrupt, and the scene with the aliens meeting and exchanging err… sparks, was kinda sketchy, but all in all, it was decent.
Monsters opens in theaters next week, I think.