Every now and then a little-seen but highly valuable sci-fi gem quietly sneaks into theaters - and last year's micro-budgeted post-alien invasion drama, Monsters, definitely fits that bill.
Monsters writer/director Gareth Edwards is moving on to bigger things now, having landed the job of helming Legendary Pictures' upcoming Godzilla reboot. So even though that means Edwards won't be directing, or working on the visual effects for, a Monsters sequel (or any other spin-off project connected to the Monsters universe), Vertigo Films is still pressing ahead with a followup.
Bleeding Cool has picked up a few details about the next Monsters movie, which was officially announced by Vertigo at the currently-ongoing Cannes Film Festival. The studio has decided to go the route of the Paranormal Activity franchise by only budgeting the Monsters sequel at around $5 million - which means it will still be approximately five times as expensive an undertaking as Edward's original feature.
Filmmaking duo Jesse Atlas and Brent Bonacorso (of the Terry Gilliam-style sci-fi short Now and Nowhere) will be calling the shots on the Monsters sequel - a project that producer Allan Niblo says is being designed as a drama along the lines of Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad's novel about a journey through the African wilderness during English colonization (or, less likely, the famous documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now).
Like its predecessor, the Monsters followup will also revolve around two characters (this time, a pair of brothers) whose respective histories are largely kept a mystery - and who set out on a journey into an "infected zone" where the extraterrestrials (or "monsters") reside in larger numbers.
Fans should be pleased to learn the new Monsters movie is being designed as a lower-budgeted and character-driven piece. As Screen Rant's Kofi Outlaw put it in his Monsters review, the original film is anything but a thrill-driven creature feature shot in a cinéma vérité style so it feels more "realistic" - instead, it does "what the best sci-fi films have always done: use an extraordinary set of circumstances as the framework for an insightful human story."
However, one tidbit in Bleeding Cool's report that could provide reason for concern is that the Monsters sequel will involve "a greater variety of digitally created aliens than Gareth Edwards ever deemed necessary." Part of the reason that could be problematic is that the original film thrived by not over-exposing the aliens (the old Jaws trick, so to speak) and subtly heightened anticipation for the few brief moments when the enormous extraterrestrials did appear - most notably, in the quiet, yet gorgeous, climax of the film.
With all that said: Monsters may be one of those unique pieces of cinematic art that worked in a fashion that cannot be replicated in a sequel. Best to wait and see for now, all the same.
The Monsters sequel is expected to begin production this September and will likely be shot on location in Argentina. As always, we'll keep you posted on its status.
Source: Bleeding Cool