This movie was released in 2010 and has been vastly under-viewed and underappreciated in the years since. Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla 2014) made the film on a shoestring budget of less than $500,000, yet somehow generated some incredibly realistic monster effects. It takes place years after a NASA deep-space probe crashes in Mexico, which led to the arrival of giant, tentacle monsters. What’s great about this movie is also the grittiness of it all. Filming took place in five countries (many of the locations were used without permission) and most of the extras were people who were at these locations during filming and were asked to act in it.
Just how good was this movie? A sequel is being released next month called Monsters: Dark Continent.
I think 2010 created some incredibly original movies, as this was another one released that year and practically changed the way people viewed a “monster movie”. This was a Norwegian film made in the form of a “found footage documentary”. Basically, a group of university students set out to make a documentary about a suspected bear poacher, but find out he’s not actually hunting bears…he’s hunting trolls. Made for $3.5 million, the movie was about as realistic a monster movie as you could find anywhere at the time. It was similar to The Blair Witch Project only you didn’t have to completely rely on your imagination to come up with a movie. Because of the language barrier and subtitles, the movie didn’t really catch on in North America. Having said that, Christopher Columbus’ film company, 1492, has acquired the rights to create a remake of the film for English audiences.
I don’t care what anybody says…this was a GREAT movie. I honestly don’t know why this 2005 movie didn’t really click with audiences. It’s got action, comedy, a decent story, and explosions. I guess the problem was that they spent $160 to make the movie, going on location all over the world to film. The movie raked in over $119 million at the box office…not horrible if it was a normal action flick. But this was going to be Matthew McConaughey’s “Indiana Jones”, so that box office resulted in a one-and-done situation. Is it a perfect movie? No…but it’s still an entertaining flick that certainly hasn’t gotten its due.
Reign of Fire
Some of the storyline and acting were sub-par, but I thought this was a movie with great vision and creativity. The concept of this 2002 movie is that dragons were, in fact, real at some point in history and some construction workers accidentally wake one up from its hibernation. The dragon is, apparently, asexual and multiplies rapidly. Soon dragons are over-taking the planet, turning the world to ash. Made for $60 million, the dragon effects were realistic and the actors included Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, and Matthew McConaughey in a spectacularly over-the-top performance that at one point inspired Daniel Bryan’s “American Dragon” look in the mid-2000’s. Again, this movie was far from perfect but post-apocalyptic movies generally are a tough sell. This one, though, felt more realistic and better thought-out than counterparts like The Road Warrior, The Matrix, or The Terminator franchise.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this is one of my favourite all-time movies. Why? For me, it’s a perfect blend of all of the above genres. It’s a “found footage” movie , so that makes it stand out a bit. It’s a monster movie, so that makes things more interesting. It’s not really a movie ABOUT the monster, but rather the monster is the background character…and THAT, my friends, is what sets it apart.
This is a love story that happens to take place during a monster attack of some kind. You don’t know where the monster came from (though you get a glimpse of a hint near the end of the movie), why it came here, or if they ever end up destroying it. But in the scenes where the monster is there, it’s as realistic as anything I’ve ever seen (even more than last year’s incredible Godzilla remake). Throw in some comedy and gritty performances and you’ve got one of the most surprising box office hits of 2008. Made for a relatively inexpensive $25 million, it ended up grossing over $170 million at the box office. So why is it on this list? Frankly, I think it’s still under-appreciated for what it attempted (and succeeded) to relay on the big screen.
What about YOU? Are there any movies out there that you think have been completely underappreciated by the masses?