If 2010’s Monsters was an offbeat love story of sorts that featured very little in the way of actual ‘monsters’, I suppose it’s quite fitting that this follow-up turns out to be in essence a war film featuring – yep, you’ve guessed it – very little in the way of ‘monsters’.

The monsters are there, don’t get me wrong, but they do very little to advance or affect the plot and, truth be told, if the CGI beasties were erased from the background the film would probably appear pretty much the same.

The film would still score though, and for that director Tom Green (stepping into Gareth Edwards’ shoes) deserves a whole heap of credit for serving up a tense, kinetic tale that grabs the viewer by the throat for a lot of its running time.

The world is now filling up with ‘Infected Zones’, where the monsters roam free and a significant amount of chaos ensues.

One of these hot-spots is the Middle East, which also has insurgencies to contend with.

Eager to quell these uprisings (while also keeping the monsters in check), the US Army piles recruits into the region, and this sequel follows a bunch of pals from Detroit who are shipped off to the Infected Zone to find they have bitten off a lot more than they can chew.

These pals are a pretty unsavoury bunch to be honest, beer-swilling, foul-mouthed prats who find dogs fighting toddler monsters in a form of modern-day bear-baiting as the height of entertainment.

The one relatable soldier, Parkes (Sam Keeley) is perhaps unsurprisingly where the focus of the film lies, as he comes to terms with both his new environment, his colleagues and the fact that huge alien creatures form the backdrop of his new day-to-day existence.

But rather than the monsters, Green’s film focuses on the ‘army vs insurgents’ angle, and in many ways Monsters: Dark Continent comes across as a riff on the likes of The Hurt Locker or American Sniper.

It is incredibly tense though – well acted, superbly shot with an almost claustrophobic air, the viewer – like the soldiers – is never sure where the next bullet will come from, let alone who will survive the carnage.

Any regular British television viewer will also find the casting of the film proves a bit of a jar, with Fortitude’s Johnny Harris and Nicholas Pinnock, as well as Poldark’s Kyle Soller popping up as US soldiers.

But they all provide sterling work, with their performances demanding the viewer sticks with the film as it moves from uneasy set-piece to uneasy set-piece.

Green has taken the motif and certainly put his own spin on things, and everybody involved must be congratulated for coming up with a sequel that is far more than a simple retread.

But it is also a film that you need to be aware of what you are letting yourself in for, as anyone expecting a full-blown creature-feature will be left scratching their heads.

DVD Review: Monsters - Dark Continent
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.