Wayward film school dropouts like myself squealed in glee when we first heard about Monsters. Now it’s got a release date set and a trailer. Allegedly made for around $15,000, the filmmakers traveled through Mexico and the US using locals as extras and modifying the landscape in post-production to give it the appearance of a creature-infested wasteland. The crew consisted of a handful of people – the director, Gareth Edwards, who acted as DP (and reportedly did all the special effects himself); a sound operator holding the boom; and an on-the-fly editor who both cut the film and did post-processing work in the hotel every day after shooting. No doubt there were more people involved but the small featurette documenting the making of the film gave the appearance that the crew was incredibly small. Now the film’s been picked up and is going into limited release with a heavy reliance on a District 9 marketing style. It’s hard to say how good it will be, but this is proof positive that modern digital photography and affordable post-production tools like Adobe After Effects, along with training and a firm knowledge of what you’re doing, can allow you to make a major motion picture on a truly shoe-string budget.

Granted, it looks a bit cheesy and cliche. And a genre film made by a director experienced with effects lends itself to being shot on a small budget. But not that small.

Here’s the trailer. Does this look like $15,000 to you? Monsters opens in New York and L.A. on October 29th.

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