Review: Monsters: Dark Continent

MonstersStarring: Johnny Harris, Sam Keeley, Joe Dempsie, Kyle Soller, Parker Sawyers and Nicholas Pinnock

Screenplay: Jay Basu and Tom Green

Directed by Tom Green

In cinemas now

Ten years after the events of Monsters, the creatures’ influence has spread – and four new US Army recruits are sent on a mission deep inside an Infected Zone in the Middle East…

Gareth Edwards’ Monsters was a very different sort of creature feature, and led to his helming the reboot of Godzilla (and from there Star Wars: Rogue One). That meant that he wasn’t as involved with this sequel as he might have been, and it’s been left in the capable hands of Misfits director Tom Green.

Anyone expected Dark Continent to be a remake of Monsters is in for a real surprise: this isn’t a love story unfolding against the backdrop of an alien invasion in the way that that movie was. There’s elements of bromance in this, certainly, but it’s far closer to the “war is hell” school with the influence of Black Hawk Down noticeable in particular. The characters are for the most part sketchy although Johnny Harris and Sam Keeley do their best with sometimes thin material and are credible as soldiers both when facing angry insurgents and the screaming monsters.

Those monsters are well-realised, and there are some stunning scenes involving them (the nighttime section about two-thirds of the way through the movie being my favourite, recreating an idea from the first film in a very different way). We see them at many sizes – from one that is well-matched with a pit bull to behemoths that dominate the landscape, and the CG carcases that the troops encounter in the desert add to the already-alien feel of the terrain.

Verdict: Although it could have been more tightly edited, Monsters: Dark Continent is a very effective continuation of the story. 8/10

Paul Simpson

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