I saw Monsters a couple of days ago. It’s a really great low budget film directed by Gareth Edwards. It was shot in Mexico and the southern US on video, on a shoe string. All the dialogue and action for each scene was improvised around a plan. So it has the feel of a documentary, albeit one with occasional CGI aliens.
The film is set in the near future. A probe from Mars exploded over the border regions of Mexico the US dispelling alien spores, these grow into giant creatures. Now the region they inhabit has been annexed.
A news photographer is charged by his boss to bring his daughter home. To get back the two must travel overland through ‘The Contaminated Zone’ round the border. They must navigate dangerous terrain and crossings with the help of the locals. All the while avoiding the rampaging aliens.
The film is an allegory about immigration and the treatment of Mexicans by their richer US neighbour. It has really good performances by the two leads and all the locals (non actors). Plus a great score and sound design that aids the feelings of unease.
As well as directing and editing, Gareth Edwards created all the visual effects himself on a home computer. The majority of them look spectacular, but their are one or two dodgy close ups, saved by evocative sound. All in all I think he’s done a pretty amazing job to create a stunning thoughtful lo/micro budget film that easily stands up to Hollywood blockbusters like District 9.