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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD region 2. Vertigo Films.

MonstersGareth Edwards’ much acclaimed debut feature is very much the antithesis of bone-headed alien invasion films like Skyline and Battle: Los Angeles, replacing empty-headed action with a quiet, realistic look at a post-invasion world, where humanity and extra-terrestrials co-exist.

The film follows photo-journalist Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) and rich kid Sam (Whitney Able) as they try to make it back to the US from Mexico – a journey that involves them crossing a quarantined infected zone where the aliens are an ever-present danger. As their journey becomes ever more hazardous, the couple find themselves falling in love, and also discovering that the tentacle aliens are not necessarily the mindless killing machines that the media have suggested.

Shot with a minimal crew, improvised dialogue and a documentary style, Monsters is a remarkably authentic film – the two leads, a real life couple, are entirely believable, as are the non-actors who play the characters they encounter.  The film opens with a night-vision battle scene as the military battle an alien, sensibly delivering the goods to the audience right away and so allowing the ensuing story to develop at its own steady pace. The monsters are mostly off-screen, or seen in small glimpses in dark shots, and it’s not until the end that we see them explicitly. And Edwards not only delivers impressive effects at this stage , but also manages to – for want of a better word – ‘humanise’ the creatures.

MonstersThis is a thoughtful, intelligent and often hauntingly beautiful film that is unlike any monster movie you will have seen before. Whether you take it at face value or read it as an allegory about immigration, you’ll find plenty of food for thought here. Believe the hype.

The DVD is a worthy edition of the film, with almost two hours of behind-the-scenes and production material that will fascinate anyone interested in micro-budget, guerrilla filmmaking, an engaging commentary track from Edwards and his two stars, and the director’s short film Factory Farmed. All in all, an essential purchase.







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