Edinburgh International Film Festival

Monsters (2010)

Starring: Whitney Able, Scoot McNairy

Directed by: Gareth Edwards

Rating: 1 2 3 4

Scoot McNairy as Andrew in Monsters

Gareth Edwards' Monsters was really not what I was expecting. I'd envisioned a low budget creature feature with Ed Wood- style extra terrestrial octopi menacing the earth. Instead, I got a beautifully crafted burgeoning love story – with extra terrestrial octopi. Think War of the Worlds meets A Life Less Ordinary. And how cool is that?

Alien life-forms have landed on earth and colonised an area straddling the border between the USA and Mexico, now designated the Infected Zone and cordoned off from America by a mighty wall that makes China's look like a lego set. When the daughter of a billionaire newspaper magnate, rich kid Sam (Whitney Able), gets stranded in Mexico after an alien attack, photographer Andrew (Scoot McNairy) is entrusted with returning her safely home. This is hardly the assignment he envisioned, so the pair get off to a prickly start at first. But gradually, as it becomes clear that leaving Mexico will not be as straightforward as they'd envisaged and their journey becomes increasingly fraught with danger, the couple begin to bond.

And as they discover new depths to each other, so they also find out that there's more to the alien situation than first meets the eye: with local communities devastated by extra terrestrial-aimed US bombings, we start to wonder who the real monsters are.

Filmed on location in South American on a tiny budget, Monsters offers a unique take on the alien invasion genre. If you're after Independence Day-style action you'll be sorely disappointed. But if, on the other hand, you loved the hyper realism and moving human (and alien) story of District 9 but just wished there'd been a little less shooting and a little more road movie romance, then this is the monster movie for you.

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