Written by Films

Monsters

I missed Monsters in the cinema. And more fool me. It’s now out on DVD and Bluray, and it’s superb.
What director, writer, and visual effects producer Gareth Edwards has managed is wonderful.
This is low budget film-making without looking low budget. Andrew Kalder (Scoot McNairy) is a press photographer who’s asked to find out about Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able). She’s the daughter of someone important in the organisation for whom he’s a photographer.
They inhabit a world in which strange monsters live in an infected area between Mexico and the US. These monsters are more problemmatical at various seasons of the year, and there’s a constant backdrop of US and Mexican armed forces attempting to destroy these strange creatures.
But that’s not what we’re focusing on. That’s all background to the story of Kalder and Wynden as they struggle across central America trying to make their way home to their comfortable lives.
The film had a script although it’s clear that as events took place on location, elements were incorporated into the finished product. The crew was tiny consisting of five people plus the two actors. Everybody else was cast as they went on the spot. That means lots of non-professionals. They also shot in guerilla way at times without getting permissions.
Interestingly the film wasn’t shot on a DSLR. I suspect that it would be now, as even smaller amounts of kit would be used. Edwards is a technical wizard and realised what he was capable of doing with off the shelf CGI modelling software as well as Adobe Premiere and After Effects.
The quality is stunning. But it’s actually unfair to concentrate on that, because the style and the feel of the film, and especially the characters mean that the effects are not the stars of the film. They just paint the background. With a film, it’s always characters and story, and this is what this film has in abundance.