“Monsters“ low budget production method is pretty damn amazing and now this super-indie film has opened theatrically in Europe and North America and has been nominated for best film at the British Independent Film Awards. I saw this movie at SXSW this year and I definitely walked out of the screening with a lot of questions on how it was achieved. If you haven’t heard of this film it was written, directed and shot by Gareth Edwards and his crew of 5 throughout Guatemala, Belize, Mexico and Texas.
The story is set years after alien lifeforms have crashed along the Mexican-US border creating a biologically dangerous Infected Zone, essentially a no-man’s land where monster-fearing folk dare not tread. We follow the adventures of a Journalist who is sent to bring his boss’s daughter back to the US from Mexico which takes us through said Infected Zone. Here’s the trailer:
Now, this film was shot with the Sony EX3 (plus 35mm adapter) and an equipment budget of $15,000. All visual effects were produced by Gareth Edwards in his bedroom using Adobe After Effects, Photoshop and Autodesk 3ds Max. Here’s a behind the scenes:
Whatever you think of the film itself, its production value is through the roof and it was all achieved with off-the-shelf, pro-sumer equipment and a dude who knew what he wanted and needed to do. Good story. The making-of, I mean. Truthfully I wasn’t convinced that the film narrative was pulled off that well and that any statements made regarding the political situation along the US-Mexican border were fairly incidental. I remember walking down the street after seeing this with my friends and questioning the sense of a good deal of the scenes, as though there was only a very tenuous connection between them all. This may be a result of their improvising the whole film as they went along. While watching Monsters I immediately thought of District 9 and how that movie had no qualms about being steadfastly political.
However, I am still behind this movie. You should see it.
The final price tag for “Monsters” is officially set at $500,000. Prints and posters cost a lot.