January 13, 2011

Monsters (2010)

2010 was not a particularly good year for horror movies but it gave us several cross-genre near-masterpieces that are quite fitting for this little blog. Monsters, written and directed by Gareth Edwards, is one of them - a strange combination between Before Sunrise, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Cloverfield that really feels like a documentary about north Mexico. Shot guerrilla style on a budget of $800,000, this monster flick is a clear victory of talent and valiant effort, transcending easily the confines of the medium to become genuine art. To begin with, just imagine how much of the film has been created in post-production, how much of what one can see is actually added to a regular shot of an ordinary day in Mexico, and yet, only rarely does anything - including the creatures - look like CGI. Then, the use of non-actors for dialogue sections comes off extremely well; it is clear that these people are real, even when they explain the mating process of an alien species. Finally, the story of a couple that falls in love during a road trip through a zone filled with monstrous alien life forms is REALLY about this couple and how it connects over shared disillusionment with the state of the world, and in this sense, the film is much more meditative and beautiful than you would expect from the trailer below. Sure, the film is a slow burn compared to its 21st century monster-movie counterparts in Cloverfield (2008) and The Host (2006) but there is a big payoff in the finale that approaches some of the most sublime moments in the history of cinema. And yeah, the film does get tense and properly scary from time to time without resorting to cheap jump cuts. Bottom line, it's not weird at all that many respected movie critics have included Monsters in their best of 2010 lists, and I will definitely be watching it over and over in the years to come. I just hope they don't make a sequel out of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment