I've been thinking about writing a few articles about this for a while now. Here goes part one of an on going series on movies that are awfully similar. Was one studio just too lazy to think up an original idea? Is there some "inspired by" going on? Is America just ready for two movies about Victorian era magicians? The people cry out, and its for two movies about trains.
Monsters and Troll Hunter (English title, LØL) are two pretty fresh movies. Both are shot with a very low budget (Troll Hunter being the higher of the two, but still very small relative to bigger movies.) and filmed in a way that uses very unsteady Cloverfield flavored camera work, with the digitally inserted critters as the star of the film. In Monsters this is simply because of the guerrilla style shooting they did with little to no crew or permission, and in Troll Hunter we are watching "found footage" from a Norwegian community college film crew who decided to bother some poor man who murders trolls for a living (I find the whole found footage genre very insulting, much like Firespinners and Dub Step, but I digress..).
Let's take a look at some stats:
Budget: NOK 19,900,000(around 3.5 million USD)
Release Date: October 2010
CGI Monsters: Trolls. Lots of 'em. Big fuckers too.
Plot: Follow around some guy while he tries to kill or avoid trolls.
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Longest Name in Credits: Torunn Lødemel Stokkeland - Hilde, veterinär
Release Date: October 2010
CGI Monsters: All sorts of scary alien creatures. Big fuckers too.
Plot: Follow around some dumb girl through Mexico back to USA while killing or avoiding aliens.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Longest Name in Credits: Kenia Guadalupe Dominluez Yamas - Little Girl in Pick-Up Truck
Both movies are very cool and worth a watch. I learned about Troll Hunter from a painter who worked on Top Chef with me (shout out to my boy Bean) in Texas and I thought he was kidding. He replied "Nay, verily it is a thing." and asked if I had ever seen Monsters because he felt that it had a similar stylistic approach. Monsters is not only a cool giant creature flick, but it combines subtle unertones of political commentary and relationship drama to make it not just an exploitative "Lookit the creature" type deal but a film with some real substance. Troll Hunter (pic on right related, it is a troll) takes the rather formulaic "found footage" genre and does it the way it should be done. You could compare Apollo 18 (neat) to Cloverfield (meh) as an example.
BONUS: Have you guys seen our new vidya? We made it the other day. Shit is very fresh. Also we filmed it on Ryan Neal's SLR camera. Holy-depth-of-field-Batman.