Monsters (2010)
September 24, 2014 1:15 PM - Subscribe

Six years after Earth has suffered an alien invasion a cynical journalist agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through an infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.

Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) writes and directs this 2010 scifi flick. This is the 15th pick in the MeFi Horror Club Series.
posted by DirtyOldTown (15 comments total)
 
I enjoyed it... except for the awful awful dialogue. I read somewhere that almost all of the dialogue was improvised, and boy you could sure tell there was something wrong with it.

I liked the visual effects and the monster design. I liked the scene were they find the weird monster-infected trees.

I mostly agree with the people who said it's not a horror movie. There are some horrific scenes, and it sets you up to think that things are going to get really horrific really soon, but it never quite happens. I think that makes it a good pick for the Crossover category.
posted by isthmus at 1:27 PM on September 24, 2014


Also, I watched this movie because it was an early suggestion for the film club, so thank you film club!
posted by isthmus at 1:28 PM on September 24, 2014


I don't object to the improvised dialogue -- I think it fits the rest of the filmmaking approach relatively well.

I thought it fascinating the Edwards denies there was much more than a general awareness that the storyline could be related to immigration (sort of the Body Snatchers/Communism argument, that films like this reflect unspoken tensions in society). That said, I wished it perhaps could have been more predicated on, say, getting to "the coast" instead of "the US" -- it wouldn't change too much of the storyline and would have been less third-world-ey.

I also confess that I think Whitney Able (who married Scoot McNairy at some point) wasn't really as strong an actress as needed. They avoided most of the woman-in-distress tropes but there's such an ingrained expectation of a male-female pairing in this sort of story that it needed more to it in some way, a psychological dimension to their relationship.
posted by dhartung at 2:30 PM on September 24, 2014


I saw this without knowing much about it ahead of time at the Boston SciFi Film Festival several years ago. I really liked it as such a different take on the idea of us living with monsters around, and the relative lack of actual monster screen time to let it focus on the small stories of humans.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:04 PM on September 24, 2014


I like Scoot McNairy pretty well, he's probably the most interesting actor on Halt and Catch Fire, but his character in this was just overwhelmingly idiotic and I kept wanting him to be killed. Apart from being generally prone to shouting at people in English, he seems like kind of a shitty photojournalist, for one thing not taking a picture of the monster nookie during the last scene. It seems as though Sam would have had an easier time getting back to the US if he hadn't been trying to help her, since she speaks some Spanish and doesn't do stupid things like leaving her passport unattended.

I also liked that the movie focused on small stories in the midst of a catastrophe, but I thought Edwards did much better with this in the Godzilla remake. (In fairness, he had Bryan Cranston to help him along in that one.) I just didn't find the budding romance between Sam and, uh, Andrew to be all that compelling, and it was definitely less interesting than 500-foot space octopi attacking the Earth.
posted by whir at 8:05 PM on September 24, 2014


Yeah, I also considered this a dry run for Godzilla. It has interesting ideas, and some of the VFX of the actual monster encounters are nice, but it's not very polished in terms of script and acting.

The "Monsters" weren't really "attacking", I thought, that was part of the point, they were just kind of there, a new kind of wildlife that we need to learn to coexist with.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:26 AM on September 25, 2014


Not only was dialog improvised, but I'm pretty sure the interview segments were not really about aliens at all but were taken from interviews with subjects discussing the real world situation of human migrants - i.e., the speakers had no idea they were going to end up in a science fiction movie. (admittedly one so on the nose you have to watch it crosseyed.)

Still enjoyed this for what it was.
posted by Naberius at 8:48 AM on September 25, 2014


I also considered this a dry run for Godzilla
I found interesting that a major plot point in both movies is that the monsters (the aliens in Monsters and the MUTOs in Godzilla) are just trying to breed and spend some screen time making mating calls.
posted by elgilito at 1:21 PM on September 25, 2014


Any thoughts on the opening, a flash forward that apparently reveals that Samantha (and possibly Alex) were killed shortly after the events at the end of the film?
posted by Ian A.T. at 5:40 PM on September 25, 2014


Yeah, I always assumed that the intro part is what happens immediately after the ending, although it's been a while since I watched it so I don't remember if it's implied they die.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:50 AM on September 26, 2014


There's a series of flashes of Alex carrying an inconscious Sam and then we cut to the onboard camera of a Hellfire missile up to the moment of impact. It is implied that everyone on ground is collateral damage but not that they are dead.
posted by elgilito at 4:35 AM on September 26, 2014


The dialogue was improvised? Huh. I thought they were reading it off of placards held behind the cameraman.

Anyway, I think the beginning is supposed to be that both of them definitely die. But I really didn't get that until the second viewing.
posted by happyroach at 8:38 AM on September 26, 2014


Yeah, I thought it was implied that they died at the end/beginning. I actually liked this quite a bit more the second time I watched it. It most definitely has its flaws (the previously mentioned stilted dialogue and shaky acting), but it carries a compelling tone of melancholy and dread throughout the movie, something you don't find in a lot of movies. Plus it has one of my favorite scores, which I listen to all the damn time.
posted by Timmoy Daen at 1:08 PM on September 26, 2014


I prefer my allegories a little less heavy handed. I mean ok, he denied that this was about immigration, but FFS they make it into America and where do they find the aliens? Loitering around a gas station, of course. The only way it could have been more about immigration is if they were in front of a Home Depot.
posted by Literaryhero at 8:14 AM on September 27, 2014


I remember being excited to see this, but it turned out to be one of those films where I dislike the main characters so much that I'm pissed I have to spend all that time with them. I liked every other person in Mexico better than them and was much more interested in their lives, even if they were only on screen for a few minutes. But no, this is a story about these boring whiny shitty white people and their charmless zero-chemistry relationship which is occasionally threatened by some unspecified thingies but they are always saved by way cooler people who even sacrifice their lives so we can continue watching these assholes who suck.


It definitely could have used more monsters. It definitely definitely could have used more monsters devouring the boring shitty people maybe ten minutes into the movie. There would be much rejoicing!
posted by louche mustachio at 2:32 AM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


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