Friday, 19 December 2008

Drop the camera and run - again

A creature attacks the metropolis, survivors go on the run shooting everything on camcorder as they go. Sounds familiar? Monster, made by The Asylum and distributed by Lighthouse, is as close to a rip-off of a certain other monster movie as it is possible to get (even though it was released first!) and it set me wondering about why people make derivative films. Cloverfield itself actually has very high production values - this film clearly cannot afford the same values so this is a cheap attempt to mimic an expensive attempt to look cheap.

Having started with a negative point, I have to say I really enjoyed this film, although more in the way you might enjoy an amateur or fringe theatre production. There's a lot to learn here about how to make films on a budget - clever use of sound and camera angles to convey panicking crowds without actually showing any people, etc. I might try some of this if I make any more short films. Most of the film seems to have been made by a handful of people - actually I was surprised by how many names were on the credits!

The two stars are Sarah Lieving and Erin Sullivan. Sarah is apparently a regular at Asylum, Erin has only a few credits including "Transmorphers" (I wonder what that one's about...) They're both endearing and reasonable actresses - this film gets a lot of criticism at least on imdb but this is mainly because it's derivative. It's also fair to say that unlike a film with a larger budget, the pair pretty much have to carry the whole film - clearly there was only a budget for a few minutes of film with other actors, plus the brief action climax at the end, plus a few extra dollars for special effects, so most scenes just feature the two girls, and a lot of the action can't be shown so they have to rely on their acting skills to convey it. The whole shoot must have been hard work.

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