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DVD Review – Monsters: Dark Continent

2 min read

Monsters: Dark Continent is Tom Green’s (Misfits) follow up to the 2010 original Monsters.  Set in a world filled with Lovecraftian type monsters, Green attempts to offer up a character-focused study from the battlefields of war while dealing with the gargantuan creatures now known as MTRs.

Monsters: Dark Continent InsertTen years on from the events of the first film, the monsters have now spread globally resulting in multiple ‘Infection Zones’.  Set in the Middle East, Monsters: Dark Continent follows soldier Michael Parks (Sam Keeley) and his comrades as they are deployed to deal with the rising number of MTRs. Under the command of sergeant Noah Frater (Johnny Harris), they must attempt a rescue mission while dealing not only with the monsters, but also the dangers of local insurgents.

When the premise of the film was first revealed, the focus on a military perspective was both worrying and exciting. Worrying because the success of the original lied in its slow-burn character focus, which allowed the monsters to exist as a believable and ingrained part of the world, and exciting because in the right hands, a genre shift could have put more of a focus on the monsters themselves which would have made for a gripping tale. It was done previously with horror sci-fi classic Alien and its horror-action follow-up Aliens, which saw a dramatic, yet successful, shift in storytelling style.

What resulted in Monsters: Dark Continent though, was a film that wasn’t exactly the action-packed adventure advertised, or the indie-like original. One of the more problematic areas of the film falls on the premise, which is reliant on the monsters posing a credible threat to humanity. Yet, at no time does it ever feel like they are more than general nuisances, which makes their destruction by the soldiers at times almost uncomfortable.

The film isn’t very subtle in exploring it’s themes, being rather on the nose, with the monsters standing in for weapons of mass destruction as the reason for the American “invasion”. Even as a war story, it becomes fairly clichéd as Parks begins to see the downfalls of his own side while beginning to see the humanity of the Insurgents; the standard war story beats follow.

While sincerely meaningful at times, Green attempts to essentially have his cake and eat it too by delivering both an indie and war film, though fails to fulfil his promise on either.