Here’s the next installment of my top 31 horror films since 2000.
#14 Monsters (2010)
So why did director Gareth Edwards, a relative nobody, get the call to direct Godzilla (2014) followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story after making only one previous film? Because that film was Monsters.
The mythology surrounding Monsters is the stuff of legendary. Edwards, two primary actors and a crew of just five traveled across Central America, largely improvising with locals and riffing on the real life experiences they shared and filmed, acting on the trust that Edwards would fill in the blanks at a later time with a story he had developed. With nothing to act to, the actors were fed lines and situations so they could react accordingly. When they wrapped only three weeks later, Edwards used off-the-shelf effects software and a budget of only $50000 to made something astonishing. If you were to watch Monsters without the effects, it would look like a nicely shot home video, but after he inserted his genius and skill, I defy you to tell me this film wasn’t made in Hollywood with a multi-million dollar budget.
But that would all mean nothing if Edwards couldn’t tell a story, and this is where the film really shines. We follow a photographer who is charged to travel to San Jose and find and bring back to the US the daughter of his employer. A NASA space probe carrying an alien microbe exploded on re-entry and crashed in Mexico, spawning a new species of giant, tentacled creatures that become deadly when engaged. A photographer and the daughter must travel through the ‘Infected Zone’ and make their way back to the US. On their excursion, they develop an appreciation for the monsters, the land and for themselves. Audacious, wondrous stuff.
Check out the trailer below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for #13.