The highly successful 2010 film ‘Monsters’ saw the arrival of giant tentacled monsters to Earth. It’s sequel ‘Monsters: Dark Continent’ has five army men in a Middle East war zone who are attempting to deal with an insurgency, and dealing with these monsters as well. It’s explosive and shattering.
The monsters have now spread worldwide, and in the middle east a new war has begun, and at the same time there has been an increase of monsters in that region – which is called the Infected Zone. The army has brought in many new recruits to deal with both the insurgency and to help kill the monster population. Four of the recruits, all from Detroit, Michigan, and all best friends, are given a special mission: to rescue soldiers who have been lost in the Infected Zone. It’s the men’s first tour of duty, and for Michael (Sam Keeley), Frankie (Joe Dempsie), Inkelaar (Kyle Soller), and Williams (Parker Sawyers), they must also deal with the monsters while at the same time battling the enemy. They are all excited, yet extremely nervous to be part of this mission, especially Williams as he has become a new father. Their assignment gets all the more intense when they meet their commanding office Frater (Johnny Harris), a veteran of nine tours and a hard core military man, who is estranged from his family. Michael is the most impressionable, and youngest of the bunch, he’s totally stunned and shocked when he sees the monsters for the first time from the helicopter him and his crew arrive on. It’s a stunning sight, seeing those monsters while the army’s fighter planes dropping bombs on them.
They men are these for a mission, to search for some soldiers who have gone missing. So thus begins their journey into the unknown, fearful not just of the enemy, but also of the monsters. They encounter IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices), which kill a couple of the men, while seriously injuring Williams. But their journey has just begun, not all of them survive. They must put up with sniper fire, being captured and interrogated, escaping and enduring long and brutal journeys in the desert where they encounter dead bodies in a school bus, and at the same time staying way clear of the monsters. The monsters, huge, with very large tentacled hands and face, are a scary backdrop to a film that makes it clear that fighting a war in enemy territory is scary enough.
Tom Green, making his directorial debut (he previously had directed episodes of the television programme Misfits, which starred Keeley), and Executive Producer Gareth Edwards (who wrote and directed the first ‘Monsters’ film) have created a film that is both scary and stunning. War is brutal enough, but they expose us to the deadly silence of not just the enemy but also of the monsters. As soldiers who must carry on, all the actors are brilliant. Harris as commanding officer Frater is brilliant – he truly wants to go back home to be reunited with his father but he’s a staunch army man who must complete his mission. Keeley as Michael is the film’s heart and soul – he’s being exposed to the world and this is it: his innocence is being taken away from him, he goes from being a young man to a hardened soldier. From the dessert landscape to the deserted villages, from the lush scenery and sunsets to the terrifying appearance of the monsters, ‘Monsters: Dark Continent’ is a sight to behold. And the music, by Neil Davidge, adds an acute tenseness to the film. ‘Monster: Dark Continent’ is bone-chillingly scary and beautiful at the same time.
MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT is available on DVD, Blu-ray & Steelbook
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.