Monsters is a low budget film about aliens for people who value subtlety over big bangs. It is a very impressive achievement, it looks gorgeous (particularly the scens in the Mexican rainforests), is compelling viewing and thought provoking too.
It is set in Mexico, six years after alien lifeforms (giant octopuses that hatch from fungi like structures on trees) have taken hold there and an infected zone between Mexico and the USA has been isolated, separating the two countries. This separation is emphasised by a towering wall built along the border.
Andrew is a photojournalist working on documenting the aliens and charged with bringing his boss's daughter Sam back to the USA. The threat of the aliens is advancing such that, due to a combination of circumstances they find themselves unable to get a ferry back to the USA and opt to make their way through the infected zone. This journey is characterised by huge tension due to the ever present threat of the aliens with the occasional glimpse of the monsters themselves and the damage they can cause.
Finally the pair make it to the USA and have a final encounter with the aliens that leaves them wondering whether they are actually as dangerous as they have been portrayed (they certainly prove to be fascinating and beautiful in this scene).
The film is very thought provoking too. I was constantly struck with how the USA treats Mexican immigrants (I'm currently reading Crossing with the Virgin - Stories from the Migrant Trail, which I will review here in the near future). The journey that Andrew and Sam make through the infected zone brought to mind the perils many immigrants make through the Arizona desert in their attempts to reach family or jobs in the USA. Plus the border wall seems something that could become a reality in the future. I was also particularly struck by the US Army reaction of spraying vast areas of the forest with poisons to kill off the aliens, which brought to mind images of the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam.
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