This road-trip romance with sci-fi circumstance imagines a bizarro world in which a NASA probe has crashed, leaving part of Mexico “infected” with hostile, rapidly breeding alien life. The monsters — something like massive octopi with translucent bellies that glow in the dark — have been quarantined from the United States by a massive border fence.
American newspapers will pay five figures for shots of a creature up close — or graphic images of their victims. Enter Andrew (Scoot McNairy), a scowling opportunist with a camera, whose plan to cash in on the aliens’ seasonal migration is foiled when he’s forced to escort his boss’s lost tourist daughter, Sam (Whitney Able), back to the U.S. border. He’s a mercenary paparazzo; she’s an idealist critical of his fuzzy morals. Opposites attract.
Director Gareth Edwards seems most concerned with the class and economic implications — and romantic allure — of disaster. The film peaks, dramatically and creatively, with an alien mating dance of astonishing verisimilitude.