With a schedule of such amazing movies sometimes you can’t see everything you want to and this was the case with the next film Monsters which conflicted with the Burning Bright on the Discovery Screen. Thankfully we had managed to wrangle an extra ticket so while I went into my seat in screen 1, Zombie 1 headed in to see Burning Bright. Staring Meat Loaf and a Bengal tiger you can read his full FrightFest exclusive review right now, right here.
I was getting ready for what was one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of the festival Gareth Edwards Monsters. The sell out screening meant there was a buzz in the cinema and as the first time director took the stage you could see he was in awe of the response he had gotten.
“I have been dreaming of this moment since I was 4 and I am still stumped on what to say” the modest Brit announced finishing his speech with the words “this is the best place to do this.”
As the lights dimmed and the frenetic night vision opening began showing some army guys taking on a giant alien monster squid you could be confused in thinking you where watching Cloverfield however once the film gets going this is a much more original, much more impressive and much more moving piece of cinema.
Part monster movie, part road movie, part romance the excellent story, penned by Edwards, is set six years after a NASA probe returning to Earth with samples of alien organisms crashed over Central America creating new life forms on our planet and leading to half of Mexico becoming a dangerous quarantine zone.
When a cynical photographer Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) is charged with bringing his rich bosses daughter Samantha (Whitney Able) back to the US they begin a journey across central America which forces them through the infected zone and into the alien’s environment.
With two brilliant leads playing complex characters caught up in a world where monsters do exist this poignant picture deals with deep themes and strong emotions. The militaries constant presence and bombing of the creatures and the giant wall they have built to keep themselves safe evokes images of post 9/11 American paranoia while the constant appearance of children and the effects the situation has on their lives brings in ideas of the environment and the future of our planet.
A modern day War of the Worlds comparisons to The Host and The Mist are obvious along with District 9 as Monsters is another movie which looks like a Hollywood blockbuster but was made on a fraction of the budget due to Gareth Edwards background in cgi and visual effects.
As Edwards came back to the stage for an audience Q and A the appreciation he had for the applause he received was all over his beaming face. Talking about making the movie he described how he went into visual effects to work his way to making movies however it had taken him a long way to get to where he wanted to be.
Describing the stunning effects in the movie he said it was important to have that wow factor as working with computer graphics was like being a gynaecologist “you do it every day so you don’t get turned on by it any more” an analogy which was met with laughter as he admitted his mum was in the audience.
The whole film was made as cheaply as possible on Edwards’s laptop and he even thanked Adobe in the credits just so he could get a copy of their software for free. Made on the hoof with a small crew and the two leads the chemistry between the characters was vital to Edwards hence the casting of Scoot and Whitney who where a couple in real life and are now married.
He ended with some horror stories from the filming saying that although the people of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala where they filmed where wonderful and friendly there where several shootings, a prison break and many other mad events which happened along the way resulting in them having machine gunned armed government guards to protect them from being kidnapped.
Definitely one of the best movies of the festival this is a film everyone should see and hopefully will when it gets released latter this year.
After some cerebral sci-fi the night ended with Hong-Kong slasher Dream Home which delivers a level of gratuitous violence not seen since Riki-Oh and putting the blood and guts back into Asian horror.
Another brilliant day with some wonderful movies I couldn’t wait to see what Sunday would bring.
Burning Bright Trailer:
Dream Home Trailer: