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Stars: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able

Director: Gareth Edwards

A strongly atmospheric low-budget creature feature-cum-road movie, slightly reminiscent of Anaconda, in that much of the two central characters' trip is made by river.

A space capsule containing samples of organisms from Jupiter's chief moon has broken up on re-entry and scattered its contents over Mexico and the surrounding ocean. The organisms have since developed into enormous, octopus-like extra-terrestrials, ravaging the countryside when roused. They are now hopefully 'contained' in a highly-walled 'infected area' between Mexico and the United States.

Photographer Kaulder (McNairy), desperate for big-money monster shots, is in a danger area when he's yanked off assignment to escort his boss's daughter (Able) safely back home. They get as far as the ferry - now charging $5000 to cross the river.

To keep the plot going, Kaulder gets drunk the night before the crossing, and sleeps with a prostitute who robs him of his money and both passports...which means they have to undergo a dangerous river and land trek through the infected zone.

The monsters are frighteningly well realised on a tiny budget by the director himself, and scenes where they appear are full of foreboding. In the end, though, the pace is a bit slow and there are too many scenes with nothing happening. Able is just OK and it's McNairy, vaguely reminscent of Mark Ruffalo (with a touch of Bruce Dern) who, apart from the creatures, steals most of our attention.

David Quinlan

UK 2010. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Colour.
93 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 28 Nov 2010