SCI-FI DRAMA; 1hr 93min
STARRING: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able
Too-close encounter: Able and McNairy
The landscape that writer-director Gareth Edwards has built in Monsters is more desolate and lost than overtly scary, and it’s all the more foreseeable for that. Six years after a NASA spaceship crash-landed at the US–Mexican border with a posse of alien life forms on board, the area is swarming with humungous and barely containable creatures. Sinuous of tentacle and volatile of nature, they are a dire prospect all round, but to photographer Andrew (McNairy) they’re also pictorial catnip. So he is less than thrilled when landed with the charge of his boss’s daughter, Sam (Able), who needs to get back into the States.
Shot hand-held by Edwards and with dialogue improvised by the naturalistic leads (they were a couple at the time of filming), the action has the rough-hewn immediacy of war-zone news reportage. With the creatures either barely glimpsed or background noise for most of the action, their threat is primarily implied. Running parallel to the doomsday menace is the story of Andrew and Sam’s emerging relationship as they travel through the “Infected Zone”, where how you die is a fate far worse than the death itself.