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Feature


Ten years on from the events of Monsters, and the 'Infected Zones' have now spread worldwide. In the Middle East a new insurgency has begun. At the same time there has also been a proliferation of monsters in that region. The Army decide to draft in more numbers to help deal with this insurgency and at the centre of this Michael Parkes (Sam Keeley) and Noah Frater (Johnny Harris)

 Monsters: Dark Continent

Video


Crisp edges, fantastic (though often muted) colours with various stylised tints in the given locations, Monsters Dark Continent is a distinctly modern looking film. Edges are super sharp, detail is plenty and as with the first film the location is just as much the star as the characters and is celebrated and such with deep shots of the towns and the real world natural glow of the sunshine to bring everything to vivid life.

Black levels and shadowing are consistently strong and the dusty locations of the core plot gives a good backdrop for the details of the army uniforms to pop off of the screen. There's a slight haziness and even a washed out look to some wider shots but it's a standard that comes with the genre since Saving Private Ryan and gives everything that seemingly required now gritty feel.

When the image then mixes in some CGI, it's not too bad. It certainly makes the image seem more like a game and quite digital, which is doesn't really suffer from quite so much when there's no CGI on screen but the CGI is okay, not quite as seamless in quality or as striking as in the original film bit it's used minimally enough not to pull you out of the reality of the situation too much.

Last up it's worth mentioning the night based scenes. This film holds up extremely well bathed in some real darkness. Whether noisy night vision or moonlit faces the presentation remains crisp and striking throughout.

 Monsters: Dark Continent

Audio


The audio is full of crisp dialogue like the original film was but unlike the original Monsters has an aggressive streak running through it within the battle scenes that absolutely rocks the track, to the point of being so powerful compared to the small dialogue moments you'll find yourself adjusting volume levels a fair bit to counter the changes.

Lots of gunfire pounds all of the speakers, characters shout amongst the chaos and when the score adds to that in the rears there's a very strong sense the track is out to attack.

The film treads a line between subtle and intense and the track balances both of those well, even if it suffers on the initial change of volumes as they the film flicks between quite and (extremely) loud. The score whether subtle or in your face floats around the speakers very well and the dialogue remains strong and central no matter the situation. Rears are used very well to widen the experience with incoming vehicles or gunfire and for a relatively small (and unexpected) sequel the overall presentation here holds its own against the big boys.

 Monsters: Dark Continent

Extras


The extras are generally fluffy and short and hold no real detail really. 'The Dogfight: VFX Breakdown' (02:56 HD) is about the dog fighting the little monster and is more a passing comment than a featurette, 'Evolving the Monsters' (08:56) gives a bit more detail but is over as it gets interesting and 'Filming on Location' (12:25 HD) has the cast and crew talk about their experiences when filming.

 Monsters: Dark Continent

Overall


Like the original film Monsters Dark Continent is a film about something (this time soldiers) that sort of just happens to have some giant aliens in it. They are used extremely sparingly again and often as an emotional metaphor of sorts as opposed to an action driver and once again that worked for me and made this unexpected sequel not the throw away action revamp I expected. It actually retained the original Monsters heart and soul to a fair degree too which was a surprise. It's certainly a rather cliché "modern warfare is hell" situation but in amongst that, Johnny Harris delivers another great, intense and complicated performance (even if his accent is shaky) and Monsters Dark Continent, like it's predecessor ends up playing strong against the big boys of sci-fi (and indeed the war genre) even with the relatively little boy's resources it took to make it.

** Note: The images on this page are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.

 Monsters: Dark Continent
 Monsters: Dark Continent


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