Gareth Edwards upended monster movie conventions and presented Hollywood with an irresistible calling card (going on to direct the 2014 remake of Godzilla) with his highly impressive DIY sci-fi. Following an alien invasion, Mexico has become a quarantined zone and an American photographer (Scoot McNairy) has to escort his boss’ stranded daughter (Whitney Able) back across the US border.
As the pair’s initial frostiness thaws, Edwards defies genre conventions by shifting the human drama centre stage and moving the monsters to the margins. But even with its romantic charms this remains a compelling sci-fi film with a hauntingly realistic evocation of benign alien invasion.
The story of the film’s production is also a minor miracle of low-budget filmmaking. With a skeleton crew and his two principal actors, effects wizard Edwards journeyed through Mexico in semi-improvised fashion, often casting local residents in minor supporting roles. All of the film’s digital effects were grafted on back in the UK, in the comfort of Edwards’ home studio.