The result impresses thanks to the lead actors' performances and Edwards' skilled efforts. But it should come with a warning: ''Here be (not many) monsters.''
Clark Collis - Entertainment Weekly
Effortlessly compels. The ending may be pure sci-fi schmaltz, but it's schmaltz that this viewer, at least, could believe in.
Jeannette Catsoulis - New York Times
"Monsters" is no ordinary horror film. If it were, it might be a bit better than it is. As the movie stands, it's a less-than-compelling relationship drama, with aliens.
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post
Monsters wants to be an allegory about American self-absorption or the panic over immigration or something; exactly what is never very clear.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Borrowing the handheld lensing and easy pace of a low-budget character piece, director Gareth Edwards, a CGI artist by trade, has created a dystopian landscape that's so naturalistic, it's uncanny.
Karina Longworth - Village Voice
What brings Monsters down from its extremely low perch is a conspicuous lack of monstrosity -- the best the filmmaker's laptop has come up with is fleeting glimpses of supersize squid -- together with the vacuousness of the hero and heroine...
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Monsters is far from perfect, but as a calling card for a rising young talent, it's impressive.
Cary Darling - Dallas Morning News
Monsters is part immigration parable, part war allegory with a dose of It Happened One Night and The African Queen tossed in.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
"Monsters" is a rather special achievement. Think of it as a movie that M. Night Shyamalan (and we) would be happy he made.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
A sharp little low-fi monster movie operating from a tantalizing premise.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Just remember, folks: If a NASA probe finds alien life forms in space, it's not a good idea to bring DNA samples back to Earth.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
A stunning piece of work that packs a devastating emotional wallop.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
A uniquely satisfying entertainment.
Joe Leydon - Variety
Both of them are so obnoxious that you're quickly rooting for the monsters to get them. Unfortunately, they're never in any real danger.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
The immigration and drug war parable and photojournalism ethics are never front and center, but draw attention because Edwards doesn't deliver well-earned frights or even cheap jolts. It's a good-looking movie with zero sense of urgency.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
A better-than-average debut by a filmmaker who merits watching. Let's hope that he keeps some of his indie spirit when Hollywood comes calling.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
With Monsters, Edwards transcends the special-effects auteur label, creating a memorable sci-fi story in which the hero and heroine are true equals in the adventure. How's that for an alien concept?
Jennie Punter - Globe and Mail
I want to convince you to see it but I don't want to hype it so much that the surprise is ruined.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Who said science fiction films have to be expensive?
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Makes its own distinct impression thanks to a finely tuned attention to atmospheric detail over broad sci-fi sensationalism.
Michael Rechtshaffen - Hollywood Reporter
Even if the visually similar Cloverfield and the thematically similar District 9 didn't already exist, this would still seem painfully hackneyed and obvious.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
Although the verite aesthetics of Monsters will invite comparisons to Cloverfield and District 9, what galls most is the infuriating lack of purpose beyond its backdrop.
Robert Abele - Los Angeles Times
It's a new high in lows, as in lowbrow, low budget and low key. But there's something about it that's hard to shake.
Al Alexander - The Patriot Ledger
This low-budget and character-driven drama should be applauded for its realistic portrait of a world slowly coming to grips with an alien invasion.
John Hanlon - John Hanlon Reviews
If you want to make your giant monster movie more of a character study, more power to you, but then the pressure's on to create some truly captivating characters.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
Strikingly beautiful effects and atmosphere mixed with some really great direction make for a very well done film.
- We Got This Covered
Monsters asks greater questions of its audience than the usual special effects yawn-fests.
Ali Gray - TheShiznit.co.uk
- Sight and Sound
This unforgettable debut marks Edwards out as a huge talent and one who'll likely find himself showered with Hollywood cash to support future endeavours.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
Monsters looks and feels like a major studio film, and Edwards is clearly a talent to watch.
Paul Gallagher - Future Movies UK
An astonishing achievement for first-time British feature director Gareth Edwards.
Nick Roddick - Sight and Sound
The most interesting thing here is the budget.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
It's a journey that involves plenty of hazards, none more dire than the prospect of romantic scenes between two actors with zero chemistry.
Adam Nayman - eye WEEKLY
McNairy and Able are stick figures who spend all their screen time spouting risible platitudes about how America sure looks different when you see it from the other side of a wall.
Norman Wilner - NOW Toronto
Expect cool weird things from [Edwards] in the future.
Dave White - Movies.com
Kofi Outlaw - ScreenRant
- National Post
Monsters virtually redefines guerilla filmmaking for our technologically attuned generation, and despite its many flaws, it is an enticing career-maker for director Edwards.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
... give Edwards props for making the effort, and for so effectively creating a convincing portrait of the world under siege from a slow, evolutionary invasion.
Sean Axmaker - MSN.com
While the plot appears to meander, the impact is undeniable.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
A road movie, a romantic drama, a post-apocalyptic monster thriller, and more.
Scott Weinberg - FEARnet
Next to 'Catfish,' 'Monsters' is probably the most anti-climatic ending of the year.
Clay Cane - BET.com
A script not even a mother could love
S. James Wegg - JWR
The movie itself is pretty slow moving and the giant alien monsters are disappointing because they appear on the screen so briefly. The really impressive thing about it is how little it cost to make.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Too much of Monsters simply reminds you of other, better movies...
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
A genre-blurring gem that combines elements of sci-fi creature feature, road movie and indie romance ... District 9 meets It Happened One Night, with a dash of Mumblecore.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
"Sunny with a chance of creatures" could well be the weather report from the world of Monsters, one of the most startling movies of our new DIY filmmaking culture.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
As a piece of imaginative virtual tourism, made on an extremely low budget, Monsters is a fantastic achievement.
Jon Hamblin - SFX Magazine
Sci-fi thriller that is fused together with a familiar road story romance.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Should you see it? Yes, if you're a sci-fi fan and/or if you're curious about the current state of DIY filmmaking. Otherwise, I'd call it a toss-up.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
One of the most assured and impressive feature debuts in recent years.
Alex Fitch - Electric Sheep
Every scene has real texture, genuine tension.
David Sexton - This is London
Intelligent sci-fi with a monster-sized heart.
David Michael Brown - Empire Magazine Australasia
An organic-feeling monster movie that capitalises on the energy and unpredictability of its guerilla film-making approach to make its judicious use of traditional sci-fi tropes even more lyrical and haunting.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
For all James Cameron's trumpeting about a 3D revolution, this efficient little movie could turn out to be the real game-changer of the year.
Steve Rose - Uncut Magazine [UK]
... a big effects-driven film delivered on a shoestring.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Edwards' neat spin on alien invasion sci-fi movies might just be the debut of the year.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
Monsters is a brilliantly executed thriller which puts multi-million dollar blockbusters to shame.
Catherine Jones - Liverpool Echo
This is a very postmodern sci-fi, with its downbeat approach to the monsters themselves, but with a hugely involving love story.
It's a gorgeous and unsettling ride, a road movie about an almost-romance, with the threat of the unknown hanging in the air, and an ending, both beautiful and elegantly scary, that sends shivers down the spine.
Tim Robey - Daily Telegraph
Terrific production values are let down by an unappealing and stale screenplay.
Simon Renshaw - Film4
It proves that you don't need a big budget and overblown special effects to pull off a clever alien movie.
Roz Laws - Birmingham Post
This film is so edgy it hardly needs its monsters. (But don't worry, it gets them.)
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Ultimately the film strives to inspire awe rather than terror, culminating in a climax as brave as it is unexpected.
Rob Daniel - Sky Movies
As a film it's a couple of notches shy of a masterpiece, but as an achievement it's completely without precedent.
Matt Glasby - Total Film
Trevor Johnston - Radio Times
A seamless blending of romance, road movie and monster flick.
Nigel Floyd - Time Out
Beautifully shot, superbly directed and featuring extremely impressive made-on-a-laptop special effects, this is an engaging, offbeat road movie with strong performances from its two leads.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
The story is told with a naturalistic style and with the actors improvising with non-actor locals. In the end the film is really about people and not special effects.
Mark R. Leeper - Mark Leeper's Reviews
An amazing achievement for a 'first-time' filmmaker, which measures up to the finest indies for performance and character-work, and the biggest blockbusters for jaw-dropping effects.
Dan Jolin - Empire Magazine
Unique, adventurous and hard-to-define, Monsters is guerilla filmmaking at its best.
Nicola Balkind - The Skinny
Only distinguishable from a Hollywood alien invasion movie, like Skyline, in one way. It's actually REALLY good.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
A somewhat confused spawn of Cloverfield and District 9, with less of an effects budget and less of a coherent self-concept than either of its parents.
Michael W. Phillips, Jr. - Goatdog's Movies
For lovers of the genre; atmospheric and thoughtful
Julie Rigg - MovieTime, ABC Radio National
Pays off with one of the most beautiful and unforgettable endings you'll witness to a movie all year.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
The marketers are pushing Monsters as "this year's District 9" but Gareth Edwards' modern, moody alien-invasion take on The African Queen is arguably a better film.
Simon Foster - sbs.com.au
The film also has the misfortune of coming in the wake of Cloverfield and District 9, which were much bigger and more accomplished renderings of similar ideas.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
By the time our hangdog heroes are watching misty-eyed as two psychedelic alien octopus make sweet whale-song poontang over the petrol pumps, you'll wish they'd been taken out by a "creature" in the first reel.
Clem Bastow - The Vine
Monsters was a mesmerising experience at the cinema and a magic career-making debut from Edwards.
Glenn Dunks - Trespass
Monsters pulls off the rare feat of weaving a serious and meaningful narrative around its aliens.
Katerina Sakkas - FILMINK (Australia)
Monsters, by first-time English director Gareth Edwards, begins where most alien invasion movies end.
Tim Martain - The Mercury
The film is less of a movie than it is one of the best show reels I've ever seen.
Widgett Walls - Needcoffee.com
A brave and challenging film with much to offer the discerning film lover, hardly predictable and inventively made
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
With its improvised dialogue and non-professional actors to act as props to the two leads, writer director Gareth Edwards' vision is unusual in that he allows the locations to propel the story arc
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
With two strong central performances, a wonderfully genuine style, and some daring filmmaking decisions, Monsters will have a Godzilla-sized following develop over the next few years.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
I suspect writer/director/producer/effects designer/cinematographer/production designer Gareth Edwards is aware he has bitten off more than he could possibly chew...
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Warning: Contains very few monsters.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
By playing on our intrinsic fear of the unknown, Monsters turns out to be far more convincing, compelling and unnerving than the likes of Skyline where the aliens are constantly in the limelight.
Anders Wotzke - Moviedex
[W]riter/director Gareth Edwards ... has created the kind of visual effects that would have cost millions 15 years ago entirely on his home computer.
Andy Klein - Brand X
Edwards' debut has more in common with Lost in Translation. Imagine Godzilla stumbling around Tokyo while Bill and Scarlett sing karaoke inside the hotel and you'll get a good idea of what Monsters is all about.
Andrew Hedley - Flicks.co.nz
This is such an interesting film in the riffs that you can get out of it about American attitudes to outsiders, so that at the end, particularly at the end, you wonder who the true monsters are.
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
First-time director Gareth Edwards is exceptionally skilled at creating mood, but sort of useless when it comes to creating a meaningful narrative.
Corey Hall - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
I'd sooner believe director Gareth Edwards had hired actual extra-terrestrials to make an appearance in his film Monsters, than accept the fact that he was able to construct them with his SFX-savvy and a measly budget of $500,000.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Brit director Gareth Edwards cleverly keeps the focus of this intriguing and riveting sci-fi love story on the classy performances from the two leads.
Simon Weaving - Screenwize
Like its title characters -- squid-like aliens who encroach on our ecosystems -- Monsters represents a kind of encroachment of kitchen-table filmmaking on Hollywood's turf.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
Compared to a lot of high-budget sci-fi, it makes for a nice change.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
A sincere, eerily lovely, and ultimately rather poetic horror-travelogue that transcends its considerable limitations. If the deliberately amorphous ending means what I think it does, bump it up another 10 points.
Andrew Wright - The Stranger (Seattle, WA)
There's so much that Monsters does well that it's a massive disappointment when you realize just how dull the script is, how much chemistry the leads lack, and how clumsily delivered Edwards' political arguments are.
Ian Buckwalter - DCist
Relationships should never get in the way of otherworldly destruction - especially when your film's called Monsters.
Tricia Olszewski - Washington City Paper
'Monsters' is no 'Jaws,' but the comparison is apt on one level: Edwards, like Spielberg, manages to sustain tension even in the absence of early or frequent payoffs.
Rossiter Drake - San Francisco Examiner
You could say that Monsters is an art house take on Cloverfield. And for me that's a good thing.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
Too bad the story, though atmospheric, is so familiar and slight.
Gerald Peary - Boston Phoenix
Zigs where other monster movies zag...a trip worth taking.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
For all the portentous ambience and subtlety of mood in this micro-budget slog through tropical wastelands and the mumbled dialogue of its vacant-eyed protagonists, Monsters wields a pretty heavy-handed allegorical message.
Ted Fry - Seattle Times
What Monsters sorely wants is a convincing human element and a softer touch when it comes to its incoherent and mostly pretentious depiction of the way the media sensationalizes and in turn creates monsters.
Simon Abrams - New York Press
This efficient, low-budget drama is geared toward the arthouse crowd, but genre buffs will want to get a look at its titular monsters.
Pam Grady - Boxoffice Magazine
A slow paced, entertaining, and intriguing look at a new world under the mercy of a new monstrous breed of animal...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
Atmospheric and inventive. A little indie worth looking for.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
'Don't like our pallid, predictable love story between two shallow characters? Don't worry, the monsters will be back.' The trouble is there's not nearly enough of the creatures or any real thrills to keep audiences entertained.
Diva Velez - TheDivaReview.com
Monsters has real talent in its corner, as well as a worthwhile story to tell. In that type of scenario, budgets are for wimps.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
Ultimately 'Monsters' is too obvious by half, but you have to give it credit for trying...for all its flaws, more interesting than a brainless, bombastic big-budget bore like 'Cloverfield.'
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
A startlingly original and haunting take on our ageless fear of otherness.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
A marvel of low-budget, economic storytelling that boasts impressive visual effects.
Fr. Chris Carpenter - Movie Dearest
Edwards is a wizard with his laptop's effects program. The squiddy things he conjures up look like the real deal - thoroughly creepy and a gazillion feet tall.
Bob Mondello - NPR
Considering the budget and guerrilla-style filmmaking, [Gareth] Edwards deserves our attention.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
It desperately wants to be about something, but clearly isn't sure exactly what. Thus, engaging production design and budget-level effects work fall victim to an inane script.
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
had the potential to be smarter, boundary-pushing science fiction along the lines of District 9, but with its underdone characterization and critical failures of imagination, it barely manages to meet the low standards of Cloverfield.
Chris Barsanti - Filmcritic.com
The creatures are merely the catalyst to the drama between its two leads, and it's in their relationship where the movie thrives.
Jason Zingale - Bullz-Eye.com
Isn't quite like any other sci-fi action film that's come before ... has more in common with walking-and-talking relationship dramas like Before Sunrise
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
There's an intriguing rhythm of deliberate and prolonged foreplay; it's fun to watch, despite the enduring blandness of the leads.
Michelle Orange - Movieline
Rather than using the effects to dazzle or shock, Edwards goes for awe, and comes up with moments that are staggeringly poetic and provocative -- right up to an ending guaranteed to get viewers arguing about its meaning.
Noel Murray - AV Club
Once you accept that Monsters is a love story set against a sad metaphor for how the US treats outsiders, then it can be reasonably enjoyed on the level it was intended to be.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
A great exercise in low budget filmmaking but not much of a monster movie.
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
Overcomes such drawbacks as sad special-effects aliens and a hoary storyline to emerge rather winning, if small.
Donald J. Levit - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Aa movie that expects you to bring more to the movie than the movie brings to you...runs out of ideas long before it runs out of movie.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
...like a cross between "District 9" and "The Mist" with a heart-on-its-sleeve theme about illegal immigration and American Imperialism.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
There's so much right with Gareth Edwards's low-budget alien invasion tale that you almost want to brush aside everything that's not up to snuff.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out
Gareth Edwards' independently made road/horror/politico/sci-fi film, gets all the points in the world for trying, but it ultimately comes up way short
Jordan Hoffman - UGO
Monsters suffers from lazy oversights in an otherwise compelling indie film that's often gorgeously photographed by Edwards in authentic, exotic locations.
Annlee Ellingson - Moving Pictures Magazine
Under the pretense of making that ever-elusive low budget gem, the "character-driven" movie, newbie feature writer/director Gareth Edwards slaps together a bland sci-fi movie that wilts under its bait-and-switch romantic plot.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
This low-budget creature feature creates a rich sci-fi universe but fails to populate it with compelling characters.
Ethan Alter - Film Journal International
Allegories don't come much more leaden than Monsters, a transparent fusion of Cloverfield and District 9 that posits its alien-invasion tale as a parable about illegal immigration.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
A dialed down approach to the otherwise apoplectic action film that easily wins over those tired out by the continuing Michael Bay-ing of the genre.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
The fact that nothing major really happens, and that the monsters are almost entirely off-screen, ends up being less of a problem than it may initially appear to be.
Martin Roberts - Fan The Fire
It's Apocalypse Now with giant space alien squids!
James O'Ehley - Sci-Fi Movie Page
Gareth Edwards makes a huge impression here as a new kind of auteur.
Nick Nunziata - CHUD
One of the top cinematic achievements so far this century. That is not to say it is necessarily a great film, only that, for what was achieved on a reported budget of less than $100,000, it is very nearly mind-blowing.
Edwards figured the film could use a love story as well, turning a promising excursion through extraterrestrial occupation into an irritating mumblecore drain.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
The couple at the heart of Monsters is so insufferable you'll be cheering on the aliens.
Christian Toto - What Would Toto Watch?
Creativity always trumps cash, and nowhere is that more evident than here.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Its critique of border controls recycles ideas from movies like Children Of Men and District 9, and its romance has as much spark as a dead battery.
Radheyan Simonpillai - NOW Toronto
A sporadically intriguing yet terminally uninvolving failure...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
despite its title, and the occasional presence of giant squid-like bioluminescent aliens, Gareth Edwards' feature debut has appeal that extends far beyond the usual SF/horror crowd
Anton Bitel - Little White Lies
Anemic sci-fi that works neither as romance nor adventure.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
Most of the time it feels more like a romantic comedy than a monster movie, and yet there's relentless tension all the way through
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
District 9 with a language barrier.
Fred Topel - Can Magazine
"It's different looking at America from outside," they say, just in case we missed the metaphor.
Luke Y. Thompson - Geekweek
If this is what the British director can achieve on a shoestring, one can only look forward to what a bigger budget may bring with monster expectation.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film