So starts the 2010 low budget drama, road movie, science fiction, love story Monsters. In the story a photo journalist Andrew (Scoot McNairy) is coerced by his editor to collect the paper owner's daughter Samantha (Whitney Able) and get her away from the danger of the infected zone. Her hotel has been attacked and Andrew asks about looking for her. The monsters, large air squid seem to be spreading and the military seems to be losing ground to them. They are not coordinated but more seem like giants migratory animals. They move about and interact but are so large often will kill people in their passing. When the two people do find each other the plan is to take the train to the coast where Samantha can board a boat back to the United States. Andrew is hoping that in their travels he may still get that good photo of the creatures he has not been able to get. We see on signs that northern Mexico is all infected zone. Northern Mexico as an infected zone with the US trying to keep the creatures out, and they caused it through their own actions. This all seem so familiar somehow?
So Samantha and Andrew board the slow train to the coast with the sounds of battle nearby to indicate they are near the southern border of the zone. Time is running out with the zone moving further to the south so they have just 48 hours to get there before that port is no longer useful. They start the trip and get to know each other while the train chugs alone. When it is turned back by the military they are still 100 kilometers from the coast and so decide to disembark and make their way on foot. We get them bonding until they get to the port. Their the timing is bad and the officials corrupt making an exit impossible. Then on top of it after spending a very cool night at the Day of the Dead celebrations, Samantha is resisting his advances since she has as fiancee waiting in the states. He after being turned down finds a local to wet his willy and ends up getting their passports and money stolen. Options are gone now the two decide to hire men with their remaining cash to take them across the infected zone on foot. Like many an illegal immigrant they are going to traverse northern Mexico and slip into the United States.
The journey is really well done from the boat up river, we have close encounters with the giant beasts, see their destruction and share the Americans fears as they are lead through this dangerous land by armed gunmen. We get to see the way the creature procreate and learn some of their spawning patterns.
When the main crisis hits the group it puts our couple in a desperate place where they must rely on each other to get through to the border. It is a struggle but when the large border wall is reached the area is abandoned. The battle it appears has moved north into Texas.
This is a very cool movie, with just enough special effects to please. It is not an action packed thrill ride like District 9. It is a story of two people on a trip that changes them profoundly and allows them to find each other. Writer, director Gareth Edwards works wonders shooting non actors in their homes and businesses, in parks and on streets and works those interactions into his science fiction tale. The actors working with minimal script give honest and clear performances. Whitney and Scoot dating at the time the shoot started are now married and in interviews talked about the continuous shooting while traveling with Edwards through Mexico and Costa Rica capturing the footage. How many times innocuous answers to questions about the government or a recent storms were edited into the movie to fit the alien battle scenario. They talk about the incredible effort put in by Edwards to get all the visuals for this film, including some shooting in Galveston TX after a hurricane wiped out most of the community.
This film is a success that shows that good movie making does not take hundreds of people and millions of dollars. It take a story, skill and lots of heart. This film has that.
Rating (7.2) 5.0 and up are recommended in the Zombiegrrlz system I would say Go see it if you can.