Monsters (2010 film)
General Information
Directed by

Gareth Edwards

Produced by

Allan Niblo,
James Richardso

Written by

Gareth Edwards

Composed by

Jon Hopkins

Production Information
Distributed by

Vertigo Films





Box office

$4.2 million

Running time

94 minutes

Monsters is a 2010 British micro-budget sci-fi film, written and directed by Gareth Edwards. It stars in the lead role Whitney Able and Scoot McNairy.


Alien life forms have spread throughout central America leading to the quarantine of half of Mexico. The U.S. and Mexican militaries are battling to contain the creatures, with a wall stretching along the American border. The story follows Andrew an American photojournalist who is tracking down the rich-kid daughter of his boss and their journey back to America through the 'infected zone'.


While the film sits within the science fiction genre, it can easily be read as a road movie as the central characters (Andrew and Samantha) are each transformed to reflect the situation and circumstances in which they find themselves. The characters that emerge at the end of the film clearly carry the impact of the journey. Some underlying themes that emerge through the film are:

  • Refugees and illegal immigrants
  • Military power and civilian protest
  • North-South divide
  • Biological adaptation and its unpredictable consequences

Refugees and illegal immigrants

Both characters lose all the protections afforded by their status as U.S. citizens when their passports are stolen. Now they must negotiate the price of a dangerous passage through the infected zone. The price they pay includes the cost of the river boat, armed guides, and bribes for officials to guarantee their passage. Here they become passengers along with local Mexican families desperate to reach the U.S. border.

Military power and civilian protest

It's immediately clear from the first scenes of the film that this is a war zone. Damaged buildings, tanks, aircraft overhead, and smoke rising on the horizon are familiar images that are recognisable from any television news war footage. As the story unfolds there are indications that the Mexican civilians are suffering under this bombardment and anti-bombing graffiti can be seen on the streets. Many of the locals carry gas masks for protection against chemical weapons that are used by the military against the monsters. Knowledge about the use of chemical weapons is not widely known outside the conflict area, as neither of the main characters are initially aware of this danger.

North-South divide

There is a growing sense within the film that the U.S. authorities are eager to contain the conflict along the U.S.-Mexico border, and that the population in the U.S. has little awareness or interest in the destruction and tragedy that is being inflicted south of the border. The immense wall that has been built along the U.S. border to keep the monsters out is a stark contrast to the chain wire fencing used inside Mexico. The characters themselves become focused on surviving hour-to-hour and already look forward to a time when they will be able to forget their ordeal. In one scene Andrew (Kaulder) says to Samantha "Tomorrow you will be home, and you can forget about all this." There is some implicit sense that this sort of disaster is the kind of thing that happens somewhere else and to other people. When Samantha asks a taxi driver why he stays here when it's so dangerous, he simply tells her that his job and his family are here, so he stays.

Biological adaptation and its unpredictable consequences

The reasons for the use of chemical weapons becomes clear when the local guides show Andrew (Kaulder) and Samantha how the trees in the forest have mutated and produce the eggs from which the monsters grow. The two characters are shocked to learn that there is an ongoing dependency between the forest, river and the ocean that enables the monsters to reproduce and grow. This again reinforces the sense that very little is known about the monsters outside the infected zone (at least what is know by the U.S. general public). The chemical weapons are used to destroy the forests to prevent the monsters reproducing. Here there is a potential parallel to the use of Agent Orange as a defoliant in Vietnam. The guides also tell Andrew that the monsters only become aggressive when they are attacked by the military.


  • Whitney Able as Samantha Wynden
  • Scoot McNairy as Andrew Kaulder


The film directed by Gareth Edwards, who also worked as the visual effects artist. AllanNiblo and James Richardson of Vertigo Films works as producer on the production. The film is inspired by Steven Spielberg's blockbuster film Jurassic Park.


Monsters was part of South by Southwest and on 17 March 2010 Magnet Releasing acquired the rights on the project. The US theatrical release is set for the October 2010. It was part of the 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival and had here it's UK premiere. On 24 May 2010 DFilms acquired the rights for the Canadian theatrical release. It was part of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival film market. Magnolia Pictures set the US release for Halloween 2010 the 29th October. The film recently screened in Australia as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival (22 July - 8 August 2010).


Jon Hopkins the Electronica musician composed and performed the score of the film.

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Cancelled or scrapped films