Ten years after the initial outbreak and the Infected Zone now spreads right across the world. Already stretched to the limit trying to control that the U.S. Army suddenly becomes alarmed at the amount of insurgency occurring in the Middle East. Soon young soldiers like Michael Parkes (Sam Keeley) and Frankie Maguire (Joe Dempsie) find themselves deployed to the region to take on both aliens and insurgents alike.
However, the situation is a lot worse than what leaders like Sergeant Forrest (Nicholas Pinnock) and Noah Frater (Johnny Lewis) anticipated and soon the group find themselves severally undermanned and under prepared for the situation leaving them dangerously outnumbered and their lives are threatened.
When the original Monsters film hit our screens in 2010 it took the world by storm. How the hell did director Gareth Edwards manage to create such a masterpiece of a monster film on such a low budget and with such a short shoot? The film has deservedly become a cult favorite over the years and while the talk over further films in the series always bubbled under the surface it never seemed like it actually would happen because even Hollyood as impressed by Edwards and soon had him working on Godzilla and of course a Star Wars film.
Not one to disappoint fans though Edwards decided to further the series as a producer (along with the first film’s leading man Scoot McNairy) and placed first time feature director, Tom Green in the director’s chair. A quick glance of Green’s directional Resume though seemed to worry more than a few fans of the series (he is mainly known for directing several episodes of Misfits) but they need not have stressed because Monsters: Dark Continent ends up being a brilliant film.
The first thing that hits you about Monsters: Dark Continent is that Green has not made a pure monster film. Somehow Green manages to brilliantly interweave the monster genre and the war genre together in a way that most filmmakers would be extremely jealous of. The film actually opens with some beautifully written scenes that make you feel like you are watching a documentary about soldiers preparing to go to war. The dialogue is no natural that any screenwriter will be envious of how the scenes turned out, but meanwhile the fans of the series will be thinking ‘well that’s nice but where are the monsters?’
Some monster film fans will probably decide that there just isn’t enough monster scenes in this film, but I tend to disagree. Instead I found myself marveling at how Green does manages to intermingle both the monster and insurgents storylines watch the battles start in the Middle East. Green has this knack of making the audience concentrate on a battle between soldiers and monsters and have you forget all about the insurgents until they show up out of nowhere and then the same happening vice versa. It’s a nice twist and go way for Green to make a strong political statement as well. Talking of twists Green also introduces an interesting theme later on about the native tribes and the monsters which could create an interesting storyline for the next film.
The no-show of any A-listers in the cast also doesn’t hold back the film either. Sam Keely leads the way with a brilliantly natural performance that enhances the docco feel in the early stages of the film. Keely does more than enough here to show that like McNairy he could use this franchise to shoot himself off to be a much sought after Hollywood actor. He is also well supported by Joe Dempsie, another star on the rise, and Johnny Lewis who comes to the fore when his character is cracking mentally.
Monsters: Dark Continent is a film that will take you completely by surprise. Director Tom Green announces himself as a director to watch as he expertly melds the monster and war genre together and ends up with one of most realistic war films since Black Hawk Down. Monsters: Dark Continent is a great little cult flick that really delivers.
Director: Tom Green
Starring: Sam Keely Johnny Lewis, Joe Dempsie
Running Time: 119 minutes
Release Date: 1st May 2015