Cert 15 | ★☆☆☆☆
War is always an ugly enterprise, but is it any uglier when aliens are involved? That’s the totally pointless question Monsters: Dark Continent asks. After sitting through it for two hours I can confirm that the answer is both “yes” and “who cares”.
It’s a huge let-down, especially so given it’s precursor, Gareth Edwards’ 2010 directorial debut Monsters, was so good it landed him the big-budget reboot of Godzilla (which was much better than it was given credit for). This time, he’s settled for an executive producer role, handing the reins to Tom Green, who’s taken his dystopic elegy on the human condition and smashed it together with The Hurt Locker. Why? Because GUNS.
Monsters was set in Mexico, where a journalist agreeed to take an American tourist to the US border through an “infected zone” that had been colonised by alien “monsters”. Despite resembling fibre-optic elephants, they enchanted the couple with their elegance and emotional intelligence.
Ten years later, they’ve somehow made it across the Pacific to the Middle East and the sequel follows four inexperienced squaddies from Detroit as they wage a war on two fronts. Largely set in isolated pockets of the desert, the cinematography nods to the stark realism of the original, providing a harsh and effective backdrop to the horrors of modern warfare.
Then, right in the throes of despair, an alien will stick his trunk in. Once these “monsters” were a symbolic reminder of our connection to nature; here they’re reduced to little more than cannon fodder.