A bog standard premise with aggressively unlikable leads, wilting dialogue, generic monster designs and flat pacing that takes nonsensical detours with the type of gusto most screenwriters tell you to use for concision. I haven't the faintest idea what this thing gets its glowing reputation for.
Thanks to its budget restraints, this is a monster film with hardly any monsters. Instead, at the heart of this film, are two protagonist with genuine depth, set to an exceptional background that serves as a highly interesting analogy of current immigration issues and discourses.
Edwards' calling card led to his more recent high profile gigs. Refreshing monster tale that concentrated more on personal relationships than carnage resulted in a film that had a greater resonance than expected. Leads are both quite good and keeping the monsters in the background was an inspired idea.
Pleasantly surprised by this film. It feels strongly influenced by the work of Central and South American directors with films like Motorcycle Diaries and Y Tu Mama Tabien, only Edwards adds aliens and Americans to the mix. I love the slow character development, letting that final kiss simmer till it's just right. The implausibility of the end alien encounter is outdone by the odd connection of the human characters.
Like Gareth Edwards' Godzilla, this film is not about the namesake and the terrifying things it/they can do. The film is about real people trying to figure out how to live with these terrible things and their existence. The fact that the Monsters are used so sparingly only makes them more effective. Such an accomplished film on such a low budget bodes well for Edwards. Also, I'm a sucker for Scoot McNairy every time.
I watched this movie around a year ago, and it had really been overshadowed in my memory by the much flashier Godzilla. Revisiting it here has made me question everything I have come to think about Edwards Blockbuster Kaiju film. Did he make a more compelling film with Monsters? I believe so, and with more ambiguity towards the wanton destruction on both sides.