Monsters review by Melissa Orcine - Cinema Paradiso
All is fair in love and war with aliens.
The indie ‘Monsters’ showcases a couple who come together during an alien onslaught on Earth, specifically at the border of United States and Mexico. Photojournalist Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) is tasked by his employer to fetch daughter Samantha (Whitney Able) and bring her back to the US. As they traverse the war-torn terrain of humans versus aliens, they get to know each other and even, well, fall in love.
If you want an action-sci-fi-thriller a la M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Signs’ or the recent hit ‘District 9’, look elsewhere. This is not your typical alien movie. There’s a Krakken-like alien pestering Earth and its earthlings, the danger is always afoot, yet its main leads Andrew and Samantha can’t help but be sensitive about feelings. The intention of making a romantic film in the vein of ‘Before Sunrise’ with aliens was intentional. Its writer-director Gareth Edwards used the alien madness as the backdrop for the burgeoning love story of Andrew and Samantha. Edwards can do this – why the hell not, but its trailer is misleading and if you’re in it for the gore, just walk away.
Yet I can’t help but give its filmmakers its quirky due. It’s a unique concept; a tad too indie for my taste but fresh nonetheless. Andrew and Samantha do a road trip per se through the chaos of an alien takeover and instead of running amok for their lives, they seem to be curious of the changes going on, taking it all in. ‘Monsters’ is a very introspective film; in the midst of uncertainty, its leads hold on to what they feel is much more true – love, humanity, the simple goal of wanting to go home. The chemistry in the film is much too real – Andrew and Samantha are played by a real-life couple – and it works well with what the message it wants to present. But I still don’t believe that in case of an alien takeover, all you need is love. I can’t eat love or use it as a shield when aliens blast at me!