DVD: Monsters (12)

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The Independent Culture

Bowie was mistaken: it turns out the spiders are from Jupiter (not Mars), specifically one of its moons, Europa. And they're 50ft tall, menacing and have "infected" half of Mexico.

Cynical freelance photographer, Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy), has been charged with escorting his boss's daughter (Whitney Able) out of Mexico. They race for the twice yearly ferry, pay a fortune for tickets and duly have their passports nabbed. So, they must make their perilous way through the infected zone to the US border and safety. The pair chastise ("You need something bad to happen, to profit from it") and flirt ("It's too tight... it's still too tight") in equal measure, before sharing childhood memories ("I practiced laughing") and falling for each other. And the chemistry works well in Gareth Edwards' ingenious sci-fi movie, which is a sort of companion piece to Neill Blomkamps' gorier, angrier District 9.

The British director makes wildly inventive use of his shoestring budget, applying, like Peter Weir's best films, terrific use of natural, unnatural and creepy sci-fi strings to increase the suspense of this beastie/romance hybrid. Able, who is very reminiscent of a young Jennifer Jason Leigh (haircut, lopsided smile and soft voice), and McNairy make for a compelling couple and Edwards is clearly a major talent to keep our spider senses out for.

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