With a nifty premise and a low budget, the independent sci-fi drama Monsters plays around with the genre and has some serious fun. Written, photographed, designed (both visually and physically) and directed by first timer Gareth Edwards, Monsters is more of a romantic drama than the next Cloverfield or District 9, though the influence of both of those films can certainly be felt from time to time. But whereas Cloverfield was a hectic and adrenalin-pumping action picture and District 9 was a social and political allegory, Monsters plays it quiet and small for the most part, allowing its two lead actors (Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able) to develop solid chemistry and pull the audience into their predicament. The hook of Monsters is that a NASA space probe has crashed in Mexico and now there are various extraterrestrial lifeforms running amok all over the country, with the military fighting them to the death. Andrew (McNairy, a real-feeling actor who shined in In Search of a Midnight Kiss) has been tasked with delivering his boss's daughter, Samantha (Able), back to the states, but in order to do so, the two of them have to risk their lives and trek through the "infected zone" where anything at any moment could pop out and eat them. Edwards is clearly working on a shoe-string budget for this genre but is still able to deliver superb visual effects in a few key sequences; it's amazing what computers can do these days. But what made Monsters really stand out was its climax -- I absolutely loved the final moments of this movie and where the story went. Instead of going for the easy and the bombastic, Edwards went poetic, and in doing so, created a monster movie unlike any other.