Why do we go to the movies at all? Because they offer us some respite from the humdrum of normal life and let us revel in fantasy for some time. And it is not that we always like watching fairy tales of happiness and bliss, but the dark and disturbing parts of life trigger our dormant parts of brain as well. It is this curiosity of humans to challenge their fears that has led to popularity of horror, disaster, and monster movies. What these films essentially do is that they bring in front of us situations where death is inevitable to tickle our fantasies of fear which cannot be fulfilled in real life. Monster movies like ‘King Kong’, ‘Godzilla‘ and others work in such a fashion. The other fascinating aspect such films is that they make for great visuals.
‘Crawl’, directed by Alexandre Aja, is one such film where a father-daughter duo is stranded in the crawlspace of their home when a massive flood hits their town and the rising waters have brought in a number of giant-sized alligators. The predators soon find out the stranded duo and start waiting for the opportune moment to make a good meal out of them. Unlike most other monster or disaster movies, ‘Crawl’ manages to be an interesting piece of filmmaking and grips our attention right from the start to until the very end. The viewer starts feeling claustrophobic along with the leading characters when they are trapped in the crawlspace. The use of sound, precise camera work, and intelligent direction adds to the charm of the film. If you have enjoyed watching ‘Crawl’, here are some other similar movies you can check out. You can watch several of these movies like Crawl on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
6. Rogue (2007)
We have all heard of man-eating lions which torment villagers of Africa. The main issue with such man-eaters is that once they realize how easy it is to hunt humans, they tend to continue doing so and stop hunting other animals. The 2007 Australian film ‘Rogue’ takes us to a dangerous territory of a giant 25-feet man-eating crocodile. Directed by Greg McLean and starring Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, and Sam Worthington, the story centers around a group of tourists who fall prey to the torments of such a crocodile while on an island. With nowhere to escape, they have to fight off the giant beast if they want to leave the island with their lives intact. The island is a confined space where man, who is usually the hunter, has become the hunted. These people are trapped by a force which is much powerful than themselves, and thus they experience what all caged or hunted animals usually experience. This role-reversal is surely interesting and offers us a unique perspective into monster movies. ‘Rogue’ is among the few monster movies that did not work well at the box offcie but managed to impress critics whole-heartedly.
5. The Mist (2007)
Based on the Stephen King novella of the same name, ‘The Mist‘ is a suspenseful monster movie which will keep you glued to your seat throughout its run. The story centers around a man David Drayton and his son Billy who go to their local supermarket to buy some supplies. Soon, the entire town is covered in a dense fog, and people come running into the store claiming that there is a certain entity out there which is killing whoever comes near it. The people in the supermarket are initially skeptical, but soon realize the truth. Everyone in the market starts growing impatient and their tempers flare up. The film portrays the panic created by claustrophobia in a brilliant way before the monster comes into the picture, killing people by the dozen. It is the sense of the unknown which is brilliantly portrayed through the trope of a dense mist gripping the town and making it a surreal landscape where your fears take form and haunt you to your death. ‘The Mist’ received positive critical acclaim for its dark tone and the fine writing which holds on to the tension until the very end.
4. Lake Placid (1999)
If a monster movie is meant to scare us, what is a monster comedy film meant to do? The juxtaposition of two drastically different genres offers us a unique perspective to such a story, where the absurdity of the situation also has a role to play in the way the narrative progresses. The story of ‘Lake Placid’ is quite similar to that of ‘Rogue’. It also is about a man-eating crocodile which terrorizes some people at a vacation spot. Their sense of enjoyment is suddenly turned to a sense of extreme dread and the fact that this is a dysfunctional group which cannot manage to function together only adds to the tension of the story. The multi-layered approach in the storytelling adds to the fun. ‘Lake Placid’ did not manage to gain much popularity among critics when it initially released.
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3. The Towering Inferno (1974)
Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are living beings, and at other times they are sheer forces of nature which are looming upon the very essence of our existence. One such monster is fire. It can both create and destroy. In the 1974 film ‘The Towering Inferno’, director John Guillermin uses the towering presence of Paul Newman and Steve McQueen to tell a thrilling story of the tallest skyscraper of a city on fire. The film is a story about the richest people in the city. They are there to have a gala time in a building from which the rest of the city looks pretty small. But it is this tower which becomes their confinement. Symbolically, they cannot escape from the prison of their own device. The film performed extremely well with the audiences and was 1974’s highest grossing film. The film also managed to bag five Academy Awards in total.
2. Godzilla (1998)
Here we deal with the first Hollywood production of this popular franchise. It must be noted that there have been five Japanese films made before this Roland Emmerich film came into being. The story of the film centers around a monstrous lizard which has mutated by radiation. New York City is under this immense creature’s threat. It is causing umpteen damage by the second and has to be terminated very quickly. ‘Godzilla‘ did not manage to earn much critical acclaim, neither did it become much of a box office hit. But, over time, it did manage to gain a cult following. TriStar Pictures, the production company of the series, later brought out two other movies to complete a ‘Godzilla’ trilogy. The theme of ‘Godzilla’ is similar to most other monster movies which focus on how fragile human lives become in front of a monster. Here, the monster is of man’s doing. The radioactively mutated being is a result of the extreme overuse of technology.
1. Deep Blue Sea (1999)
‘Deep Blue Sea’ is a science fiction-cum monster movie directed by Renny Harlin. Here, the monsters are giant sharks who are not only powerful but have bigger brains than normal sharks. They have been genetically modified at a research laboratory because of the need to find the cure of Alzheimer’s disease. What they do not realize is that the sharks will turn extremely violent as a result and will start attacking the researches themselves. Again, this is an example of a situation where technological advancement is, in turn, putting human beings in danger. Evolution has made each creature in a way that can sustain nature. But if that nature’s way that has been built over millions of years is messed with, the consequences cannot be too friendly. The film received mixed critical acclaim but managed to be big hit at the box office.
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