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Monsters is a 2010 science fiction thriller directed by Gareth Edwards, starring Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able, and Mario Zuniga Benavides. The film masterfully blends genres, with elements of drama, romance, horror and, of course, science fiction.

The film follows the two main characters, American photojournalist Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) and Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able). Andrew is a rough-around-the-edges photographer with a knack for landing in tight spots, while Samantha, a wealthy socialite, is the daughter of Kaulder's boss. The pair find themselves in Mexico, smack dab in the middle of an "Infected Zone" spawned by an alien invasion six years ago.

Monsters takes place in a world already somewhat accustomed to the reality of extraterrestrial life. Six years prior, a NASA probe carrying samples of potential life forms crashed in Central America. As a result, bizarre and deadly creatures have proliferated, leading to large swathes of Mexico being quarantined off as an Infected Zone. These actions have strained US-Mexico relations, causing socio-political unrest.

Samantha is engaged and eager to return home to the United States, but with transport out of the country seriously disrupted due to increasing alien activity, she's left with no choice but to accept Kaulder's help to navigate through the affected zones. Thus, begins a perilous journey between the duo as they embark on an odyssey through an alien-infested jungle to reach the US border.

Set against a backdrop of extraordinary circumstances, the movie heavily leans into character development. The dynamic between Samantha and Andrew is the crux of the film, with their relationship evolving throughout their journey, all the while displaying their very different backgrounds and worldviews. Samantha's upper-crust naivety clashes and melds with Andrew's cynical world-weariness, creating a nice balance and push-pull dynamic that seems to grow with each encounter with the alien fauna.

Monsters smartly make use of its low-budget aesthetics, focusing more on suspense and psychological tension than heavy CGI action. Edwards, who also has credits for visual effects and production design, smartly directs the focus onto the human characters while keeping the titular Monsters a lurking menace. It creates a sense of dread and unseen terror, much like classics such as Jaws and Alien.

The socio-political undercurrents which Edwards wove into the script should not go unnoticed. It's a commentary on uses of military force, immigration, societal divides, and our perception of 'monsters'. Are the Monsters only the alien creatures, or does the term also apply to the human behaviors arising in such extreme conditions? Such thought-provoking subtext takes Monsters beyond a run-of-the-mill science fiction flick.

Despite being a film about alien monsters, it's anchored largely in realism. There's a grungy authenticity to the beautiful yet ominous landscapes, and coupled with the grounded performances of Able and McNairy, it creates a believably gritty world where alien creatures have come to inhabit. Monsters aren't afraid to be contemplative and quiet, allowing for a unique viewing experience that settles heavy in your stomach as you navigate this journey alongside Samantha and Andrew.

The acting performances are compelling. McNairy portrays Kaulder as flawed but endearing, rough around the edges but with a softness that reveals itself over time. Able's Samantha is naive at the outset but showcases graceful character development throughout their dangerous journey. The supporting cast, including brief but memorable performances by individuals they encounter along the way, add depth to this harrowing world.

Monsters take a fresh approach to an otherwise habitual genre. It leans into the human element of a science fiction world and brings to life a poignant story of survival, connection, and understanding in the face of adversity. With a thrilling journey, breathtaking visuals, and grounded performances, this film is clearly made for those seeking an emotionally driven, thought-provoking exploration within their sci-fi fare. Monsters is a testament to how much can be achieved with a low budget, a sharp script, and a clear vision. Already hailed as a modern genre classic, Monsters is an invigorating and poignant watch that at its heart, is deeply human.

Monsters is a Drama, Thriller, Science Fiction movie released in 2010. It has a runtime of 94 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.4. It also holds a MetaScore of 63.

How to Watch Monsters

Where can I stream Monsters movie online? Monsters is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Philo, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Monsters for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Gareth Edwards
Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able
Also directed by Gareth Edwards
Also starring Whitney Able
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