This sci-fi drama may not be what the District 9 or Cloverfield aficionados expect using a wider unsensationalistic expressionistic canvas on a very meager budget.
An off-center Monsters features Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able, and occurs six years after aliens have become widespread in Central America thanks to a probe from one of Jupiter's moons.
McNairy's Andrew is a cynical photojournalist covering this unsettling incident who agrees to escort his employer's engaged daughter, Sam (Able of All The Boys Love Mandy Lane) through an "infected zone" of northern Mexico back to the United States. He actually hasn't personally glimpsed at creatures which resemble spiders with tentacles.
Of course, there are complications in getting the last ferry, so a bickering pedestrians in Andrew and Sam are amongst an armed unit with gas masks in a tale wavering between freakout and gradual romantic interplay.
Helmer Gareth Edwards, who edits and produces the somewhat eye-catching visuals with a little understated slyness here and there, provides documentary-like road movie more interested in the humans than their probing otherworldly counterparts. The mood is suitably prepared for the characters to register with compassion, fear, and hatred when needed. Trying to navigate in an affectingly droll way through a certain horror makes for entertainment less gripping than distinctive.
So, Monsters happens to be mostly uneventful even with its two performers operating with a kind of naturalistic capriciousness appropriate for the material and the locals who appear around them. Maybe the filmmakers could have done without the accidental nature of the digitized stuff which aims to make the tautly intended proceedings simmer more than they actually do.
What most who pay attention to more than entertainment, gossip and texting will see is a parable on illegal immigration that's plagued with trying to be sweet and funny with fitful cascading terror. It might be put together and played out with authenticity but seems more tone-deaf with grisly invaders right at your door.