Every now and then I go a bit crazy and check out as many movies as I can from my library. These tend to be the movies that are on my secondary “to-watch” list, the kind of movies that I feel I should watch because they’ve gotten a lot of buzz or movies that I probably shouldn’t want to watch but I’m just kind of curious.
Well, Monsters ended up in the batch I just checked out a week or so ago. I remember when it first came out in 2010 that a review mentioned it was supposed to be a commentary on the state of illegal immigration, which, honestly, lost my attention. I don’t like heavy-handed political statements in my entertainment, whether I agree with what they are saying or not.
But I wanted something to watch and I had been curious about this film despite the political message it was trying to send. And at least I know now.
About 6 years before the movie begins, NASA had sent a probe into space to collect samples of intelligent life. This probe (naturally) crash landed in Mexico, of all places (let’s be honest- it is far more likely it would have landed in an ocean but ok. Belief suspended.) And then a slow but sure alien invasion began taking place. The “infected” area, a large swath of northern Mexico, has been quarantined, and the world has begun to adapt to the giant squid/octopus creatures that came from the probe.
The movie opens with an attack on a hotel and we quickly meet our main characters: Andrew Kaulder, a magazine photographer (played by Scoot McNairy), and Sam Wynden (played by Whitney Able), an attractive young woman hurt in the attack and also the daughter of the owner of the magazine Kaulder works for. Kaulder is improbably roped into making sure that Sam makes it to the coast in time for the last ferry home, otherwise she will be stuck in Mexico for another 6 months. Because of the creatures’ annual migration or something? I missed why time was an issue.
Well, of course things go wrong and Sam and Kaulder are left to find an alternative way home which leads to walking through the infected area. Along the way we get treated to conversations about why America building a wall to keep the creatures out is a bad idea because America is really just boxing themselves in. And how America looks different when you’re outside the wall. You can’t see me, but I’m still rolling my eyes. We also get to watch 2 characters with no chemistry and very little depth of character try to convince us they are falling in love. Kaulder is the brash, cynical journalist but who turns out to have a son and is actually really caring! And Sam looks like every pretty girl you’ve seen in any B-Hollywood movie but she’s not just a pretty rich white girl because look! She’s fluent in Spanish and gets along really well with the natives! Blegh.
Ultimately, I’m not sure what message the movie is trying to send since the creatures are incredibly destructive and the wall is useless but maybe I’m reading too much into the immigration parallel. There are no real surprises and for a film titled Monsters, they seem to be a secondary consideration. Despite this, it wasn’t a particularly bad movie but not one I’ll ever be interested to watch again.