Monsters: Dark Continent (Blu-ray Review)

Monsters Dark ContinentTen years after the events of Monsters, the Infected Zones have now spread worldwide, and an American platoon is thrust into battle with a new breed of aliens. These soldiers embark on a life-altering mission through the dark heart of monster territory in the deserts of the Middle East. By the time they reach their goal, they will have been forced to confront their fear that the true monsters on the planet may not be alien after all. 

Monsters Dark Continent


Monsters: Dark Continent is the sequel to Gareth Edwards breakthrough independent of film Monsters that came out about five years ago. This follow up is executive produced by Edwards and directed by Tom Green (no, not that Tom Green). Dark Continent takes place ten years after the events of the first film in which the infected zones have spread throughout the world. Some of the aliens have evolved and have dug themselves into certain areas of the world.

A platoon of soldiers is sent into one of these areas in the Middle East but the monsters are the least of their worries since the areas in which they’re stationed in are full of enemy insurgents. Not only does this platoon have to deal with stampedes of “horse monsters” (see the chart above for alien designations) but now they have to keep from getting shot or blown up by an IED.

The set up for the film is extremely basic but sets it up nicely – the only drawback is that our main characters are rather generic meatheads. They’re from Detroit – Detroit has no future, so they enlist in the military and off they go to save the world. The problem with that is that back home – they’re not saints. They’re flawed human beings. One of theme, on the day that his child is born, decides to go out partying, because it’s also his last day as a civilian. Ok, I understand the last part but you don’t go out to party on the day that your child is born. Things like that made me say: bring on the monsters!

Once the action picks up it doesn’t relent. You will be thrown into some sticky situations involving some pretty serious gunfights mixed in with monster stampedes, octopus, and goliath monsters. I have to commend the creature designers, because they really nailed the look of the monsters down. It’s as if H.P. Lovecraft himself vomited them and brought them forth from his guts. The film was shot on the low budget end but they saved every cent for the monsters and for the action scenes.

Now comes the portion of the review where I try to play devil’s advocate. Monsters: Dark Continent still does not show you what is going on in the rest of world – we only get brief glimpses and I think that drags the overall film down, because in times like these (in the film) we need a more human connection to the events as opposed to soldiers fighting a perceived enemy while another enemy is also chopping at the bit. It’s a bit sloppy and the metaphor for “who is the real monster” comes off very clichéd. I am invested in this world and if there’s a third film in the making I will more than gladly watch but I do hope that they develop more of the backstory of the monsters – although the opening credit sequence of Dark Continent sort of tells you where they came from – I want more facts as opposed to theories. I give Monsters: Dark Continent 3-stars for effort.


Monsters Dark Continent


Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail: Monsters: Dark Continent comes to the Blu-ray format in a somewhat muted style. I should say that the drab color palette doesn’t go into effect until our soldiers are actually in the desert. The beginning of the film takes place in Detroit and in civilian life there seem to be more color than what we will eventually see.

Depth: The scenes in the desert steal the show. You’ll think that you’re looking into a mirage but it will either be an alien runner or enemy combatants. There are times where you can really see into the distance but once the sand dust kick up then it all gets obscured.

Black Levels: black levels are deep and inky and the detail of the aliens still comes through in the darkness.

Color Reproduction: There’s hardly any traditional “color” in the film due to how its been filtered but I really enjoyed the aesthetic.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones are natural and everyone looks good.

Noise/Artifacts: I did not detect any intrusive noise or artifacts. Any noise or artifacts that may appear is most likely dirt being kicked due to actual location shooting.

Monsters Dark Continent


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The one thing I can say for certain is that the lossless soundtrack for Monsters: Dark Continent is of reference caliber. Dialogue, music, action, alien action, explosions, etc., get the special reference treatment. I found myself lowering the volume just a tad, because my home theater room was going to end up looking like a war zone, too.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is phenomenal! Anything involving an action beat will be enhanced with the subwoofer but it will be tight and clear. There is no distortion or clipping to the low-end bass channel.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels bring even more depth to the action out in the desert. You will hear choppers fly by your head along with monsters swinging their tentacles all over the place. Gunfire and explosions will also rock the rears.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is loud and clear.

Monsters Dark Continent


I’m very disappointed that we only get extras that amount to less than five whole minutes of running time. It’s inexcusable, especially for something as epic in scope as this. We get a very short on-set clip with director Tom Green and some of his cast and crew filming out in the middle of nowhere. It’s a bit of a skeleton crew and Green mentions that sometimes it looks as though he’s shooting a student film, because there’s hardly anyone around. The teaser trailer is also included.

  • On the Set of Monsters: Dark Continent (HD)
  • Teaser Trailer (HD)



Monsters Dark Continent


I really enjoyed the first film by Gareth Edwards and was really looking forward to this second installment of a previously established world but it didn’t quite live up to the hype. The special effects and the scenes of war violence are top notch but the plot and story as a whole don’t necessarily move the story forward and the metaphors of the aliens, war, humans, etc., are definitely going to be lost on some and others will most likely get offended that the film is “preachy.” The Blu-ray has some great video and audio specs but drops the ball big time in terms of special features. If you’re at all curious as to where this chapter of the franchise takes you then a rental is more than sufficient.



Monsters: Dark Continent is released on Blu-ray & DVD June 2!


Monsters Dark Continent


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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