Monsters (2010) — Our planet is no longer ours

“Do you know where that puts me? Photographing tragedy.”

ZombieDog’s rating: If you have the flu and the couch has you, grab the blanket and hit play.

ZombieDog’s review: I love movies. I don’t love all movies, because not all movies are worth attention. I do find that difficult to say because I know that every project must have some level of passion. Yet there are attempts that are less than deserving.

To be fair this can be said for almost every aspect of life. There are both good and bad restaurants, bands, books, and really any experience that can be felt. The good and bad give us contrast and in no small way define us by our preferences. Writing for this website has posed some serious challenges because I’ve had to come to terms with many of the movies that I enjoy are rated very low. I’m not certain how to take this. I suppose the analogous perspective would be that fast food is the best food you can eat. I have traveled this country from end to end, I’ve eaten lobster in Boston, Chinese food in San Francisco, and steaks in Texas and they all were amazing and memorable to this day. I’ve also had cheap a hamburger and French fries that became one of my most favorite memories.

The goal I set for myself when I started writing these reviews was to write about movies that moved me. My hope is to share in some way the pleasure that I derive from finding hidden gems. Socrates says, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I take this to mean that you need to take an interest in yourself, the people around you, the things you do and see, and every aspect of life that you can experience. I won’t deny that this is a type of fortune cookie philosophy with simple feel-good premises, but there is a point here and the point is take an interest. Identify the things in your life that move your soul and seek out the things you don’t know about which could do the same.

I don’t like to look movies up before I write to review because I’m worried that somebody else’s work may spill into my review. In general, I tried to grab some basic information but avoid any kind of analysis. With 2010’s Monsters, I kind of had an odd problem. From the way that the film was designed and the “monsters” which make up the premise, I felt like it was part of another film series, in this case the Cloverfield universe. To my surprise, it had nothing to do with the Cloverfield universe; in fact, it was an independent production with a $500,000 budget.

That doesn’t make Monsters any easier to describe. The plot of this movie is that a rich and powerful man’s daughter is stuck in the infected zone, and the rich man asks one of his employees if he would help his daughter get back home. This is the whole plot of the movie I am leaving nothing out. The truly interesting part, and the reason why am talking about this movie at all, is that the plot of the movie has almost nothing to do with what the movie is about. This is one of the rare examples of a film where the only thing that is important is the backdrop. The events that are happening in the background are what this movie is about.

In the opening scenes of the movie, we are told that a satellite that was sent to space to gather biological samples has crashed back on earth with those samples. In the area where the satellite crashed animals not indigenous to earth began to grow. The movie never really says, but a decent guess would be it’s been about five years since the satellite crashed. The zone, from the U.S till about halfway through Mexico, are where these alien creatures are now growing. Some are as big as Godzilla, and some as small as a mouse. The bigger ones are extremely violent and have killed hundreds of thousands of humans. We see destroyed military hardware everywhere in an attempt to kill or somehow get under control an invasive species.

As our party travels through this world, it feels like a voyeuristic documentary mixed with a vlog combined with a bit of scientific nature show. The true tone of Monsters is this prevailing feeling that the planet is no longer ours alone. What’s more, the animals/aliens have been around so long that the idea or even the possibility that they will be eradicated has long since left people’s minds. The animals are here to stay. Our characters are not there to discover something new or be instrumental in some way of getting rid of the infestation. They, like everybody else, are just trying to survive.

Monsters has made my re-watchlist several times. It’s a subtle film and uses its budget more effectively than could ever possibly be imagined. It feels like a large studio production. It’s not a classical film though in any descriptive sense. There is a heavy concept here and the best way I could come up with to describe it is the lo-fi hip-hop of movies.

Every experience, even the bad ones, have the chance to add to our life. This website is set up to talk about bad films in a way that celebrates the wonderful even if it’s accidental.

Quick recommendations:

  • Dead Man (1995)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • Being There (1979)

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