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January 6, 2011 / Prof Cupcake.

Monsters! why you terrifying film you!

Had I been wearing boots I would have quaked in them when this film began. As a rule, movies about monsters terrify me in a way that strips me of my 23 years of hard earned maturity and turns me into that 7 year old boy who made mad dashes to the bathroom to escape the shadow witch which roamed his wall. (an old hat and hallway lighting, thanks to older observation.) Yet monsters is more terrifying then I could have ever imagined. It’s a frightening film for it is not a film you have seen before. Eskwing the expectations of what a film initialed monsters would be, this movies is instead a character study into the worlds of two very different people just trying to find their way home.

 

The movie begins 6 years after some alien life forms became accidently introduced into the area between Mexico and America. These ‘monsters’ and vicious and unpredictable and manage to hold their own against the united military strength of both countries. We find ourselves in central America following the journey of Samantha a rich and shaken up young woman who has just lived threw some sort of attack and Andrew a cynical photo journalist who agrees to escort her home under the orders of her father, his boss. Yet along the way the two grow close as circumstance forces them together. Their journey brings them back to America, but neither they not the country are the same.

 

The power of this film likes in its fresh originality. Unlike so many monster driven movies the focus of this one is placed squarely on the characters, forcing the world of aliens and war to serve as a backdrop for their interactions. This creates a much more believable narrative for we can relate to the simple struggles of the characters and find truth in their fear both about their own lives and the state of their infected world.

 

The dialogue is sublime. Much of it being written by the actors who were loosely interpreting the directors vision for the day. This gives the film a wonderful sense of honest as the narrative allows for moments of discourse which remove us from the realm of fear and place us into the emotions of the characters. It also lets more of the characters show as they often stuggle between speaking like average people and speaking like performers. Particularly in the case of Whitney Able (Samantha) who spouts of several metaphorical ‘deep’ lines which simply confuse Scoot McNairy (Andrew). Her character is by far the more performative one as her character is attempting to act like the happily engaged heiress when she is in fact running from her own life. Thus her performative quality as a star informs her role as the character and makes her hauntingly beautiful to watch.

 

Finally I feel this film intelligently addresses the issue of illegal immigration in America. By placing the infected zone along the current  Mexo-American border and referring to the monsters as Aliens, this film is opening a not to subtle dialogue on American immigration politics. Watching the level to which the American government dedicated themselves to removing the threat of the ‘aliens’, including building a massive wall to separate the countries, something some of our more radical political activists have been suggesting, creates a confusing lenses through which to view this film. I believe that by integrating an actual alien threat into America’s most volatile border the filmmaker is making an intelligent comment about many American’s inability to perceive the foolishness of the supposed immigration threat. By uniting Mexico and America as nations filled with humans, with actual aliens as the bad guys, they are underscoring our common humanity and how people are not different when separated by an imaginary line.

 

 

A brutal film, with wonderful scenes I highly suggest watching it

 

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