Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Monsters: Dark Continent

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Ten years on from the events of Monsters, and the ‘Infected Zones’ have now spread worldwide. In the Middle East a new insurgency has begun. At the same time there has also been a proliferation of Monsters in that region. The Army decide to draft in more numbers to help deal with this insurgency.

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Cast

Johnny Harris – Frater

Sam Keeley – Michael

Joe Dempsie – Frankie

Jesse Nagy – Conway

Nicholas Pinnock – Forrest

Parker Sawyers – Williams

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Tedious

Ok, so I went along to the cinema rather looking forward to this movie. I thought back to how wonderfully weird (but slightly shit) the first one was; Monsters was one of those classic ‘great concept, not produced very well’ features that I enjoyed despite its faults. These faults aside, it contained some enjoyably bizarre alien attacks, along with plausible special effects. Not bad. And Monsters: Dark Continent?..

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..absolutely FUCKING AWFUL. Do excuse my language, but in reverse of what I thought a second installment would do, this movie took the Monsters plot and thoroughly shat all over it. I’ve rarely seen a movie with room for much improvement be made worse in the form of its sequel, yet here we are. And what made Monsters: Dark Continent fail miserably was its ability to stray completey from the actual plot, focusing more on the daily activities of men serving in the military than monsters.

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I won’t lie – sitting through this movie was excruciating, to the point of wondering if I was still awake or not. The entire 117 minutes of screen time was filled with loud bangs and gunshots, men swearing at each other and nothing but scenes of sandy desert with people walking around. Tedious. Boring. If this movie succeeded at one thing, it was the ability to almost hypnotise me through boredom. Seriously, I had to check at a few points if I had dozed off to sleep or not – I felt numb the entire time.
Before going to the cinema, I had a look at the poster for this movie online; “The Hurt Locker VS Cloverfield, an absolute must-see” one tag line read, which excited me slightly as I loved Cloverfield and The Hurt Locker wasn’t a bad watch at all.

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..biggest statement of bullshit I have ever read. Whichever magazine or newspaper quoted that clearly had the labels on their dvd’s mixed up. That, or they genuinely have shocking taste.
So what was the winning (I obviously mean losing) element that made Monsters: Dark Continent fail spectacularly?..

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At War – With Itself

Roughly 92% of this movie focuses on a miserable soldier as he scowls his way through daily activity in the Army. The remaining 8% focuses on the Monsters. If you’re expecting to see a reasonable amount of monster action, you will be sorely disappointed. The movie follows soldier Frater as he leaves his home to embark on a journey to the Middle East where he is set to battle not monsters – but men. I lost interest in the story after the first twenty minutes, so had no idea who the men Frater and his colleagues were hunting were. Still, the movie continued with foreign men being shot through the head very graphically – and hardly any sign of monsters.

Frater sits on his car at the beginning of the movie with his best friend, talking about his life. Swigging a beer, he tells of how rough his neighbourhood is and how difficult life was growing up. He mentions the people he went to school with, and how grateful he is for his best friend..

..”for fuck sake, just GET ON WITH THE ACTION!” I thought tediously, my arms folded. Not that I’m disrespectful toward how difficult a soldier’s life had been, but what the hell does any of Frater’s background have to do with the Monsters – and how they may be taking over the earth?! Yes that’s right – this movie is about monsters is it not?..

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So I waited for the sob story to finish and for Frater to go off to war. Thing is, there was another half hour or so of him narrating his miserable experiences of life blended with scenes of soldiers on their base camp throwing a ball around, before any action started. That poster I saw online used the movie The Hurt Locker in one of its descriptions; which is an insult. That movie was more entertaining than this one – by miles. If anything, Monsters: Dark Continent contained similar elements to The Hurt Locker but was nothing in comparison.
I’d had enough already – I got my mobile phone out and started to send a few text messages. This movie was doing nothing to capture my attention.

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Monstrous

I hate it when a movie is actually titled to reflect its main plot, but fails to show much substance relating to that plot. The Monsters were literally used as a backing for the dull story of soldiers fighting in the Middle East. Picture the movie Titanic; but veer away from the main story of the ship itself, and fill the entire screen time with the daily antics of the chambermaids who work onboard. That’s exactly what you get with Monsters: Dark Continent – the relevant stuff is thrown to the back as the stuff you really couldn’t give a crap about takes over. I was really disappointed at the lack of focus on the Monsters, this instead was an Army film with a few wriggling tendrils in the background of the desert.

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During one scene, a battle takes place in an abandoned building between the soldiers and their foreign targets. I wasn’t bothered in the slightest – until a gigantic squishy eye peered through the upstairs window of the building as its owner wandered past..
And my genuine reaction was that of, “oh yeah! That’s what the movie is about – monsters!”
I wasn’t sure if the appearance of a Monster was a relief or irrelevant by this point in the movie, but there it was. What I’d wanted for over an hour. A monster.

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Monsters: Dark Continent was painful. I exited the cinema wondering if I had fallen asleep briefly during the feature – I wasn’t sure because of how uneventful it was. With absolutely no dynamics, this movie runs at the same pace with the same stuff happening on screen all the time, so it eventually becomes a blur of very uninteresting crap. I am surprised it was commissioned, let alone written. Unnecessarily violent, unrelatable characters, excruciatingly tedious.

But my main observation is the lack of Monsters, you know – what this movie should have been about. I would urge any fan of the original movie to avoid this one completely. Even if they can get it for free – leave it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the story at all, focusing more on what cinema viewers need less of – soldiers at war.
This is one of those movies where I feel as though I genuinely wasted my time watching it.
I’ve been more entertained cleaning my kitchen floor.

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This entry was posted on May 5, 2015 by .
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