Friday, September 26, 2014

In Other Completely Unexpected Sequel News...

...Monsters is getting a sequel.

Not only is it getting a sequel, it's getting a sequel that looks like it's damn near a complete 180 from the original film. Monsters was, as I said in my write-up on it, barely a horror film. It was about two people - strangers to each other - crossing through foreign territory made dangerous by the incursion of extraterrestrial creatures that had already spread across large chunks of the Americas at the time of the movie. It is about two people learning to connect with each other during their trip through a quarantine zone, land given up for lost to the titular monsters. And that's...mostly it. The overwhelming majority of feelings and images that we'd associate with horror came from witnessing the aftermath of the creatures' passing. What little we saw of them, they were if not innocuous, at least not actively predatory. It was sort of a film about understanding, kind of Before Sunrise with tentacles and dead bodies scattered among the scenery.

So it was an interesting exercise in what happens when you take a thoroughly non-horror movie and drape it with the nominal trappings of a horror film. It certainly wasn't very scary - maybe slightly unsettling at best. But the sequel - Monsters: Dark Continent - takes place in the Middle East, in a military setting, and based on the trailer seems to be about a group of soldiers tasked with tracking down insurgents at the same time that they're dealing with the spread of the extraterrestrials to this part of the world. Lots of effects-heavy setpieces in the trailer - heavy artillery and dudes with guns fighting off Lovecraftian monstrosities in the middle of raging sandstorms, gritty dialogue about the mission and trust and "who do you really think you're fighting" are-you-really-the-good-guys-after-all stuff.

It's weird, because it's sort of the last thing I'd take away from the first movie. The first movie was intimate, quiet, and pretty much just a relationship story. This is big and loud and full of action. I mean, I guess the obvious comparison would be the differences in tone and scale between Alien and Aliens, the straight-up horror film and then the action film, but...well, Alien was actually scary. Just...why this property? Because it was available? What's the point?

Well, I know what that point is. It's what the point always is. But I'm having a hard time thinking that someone looked at the first film and said "yeah, people are going to be clamoring for a sequel to this."

It's not another Saw movie, so I guess that's something.

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