The Monsters Without is an action-packed wild ride because it transports you to a world where ancient monsters called the Yablo are real but a necessity. Although the Yablo came from another dimension, the ancient monsters stake a claim that they were on Earth before the humans were. However, a war between the humans and Yablo caused the Yablo to go into hiding. And now, humans have forgotten about the ancient creatures and wouldn’t be able to recognize one if they saw them.
The only people who do remember are the members of P.H.A.S.E. It was an organization created to defend, document and protect the Yablo because they understand how the presence of the ancient creatures is essential to the planet’s ecosystem. Whether the world will recognize that or not, the movie focuses on a ragtag group that is tasked with locating and filing away any new information about the Yablo. It starts out with a simple task for the newly minted members of P.H.A.S.E. but alas, the group finds themselves faced with the oldest and wisest Yablo named Nameless. Nameless is furious to find the current state of his fellow monsters and how the humans treat them. So he threatens to go to war with humans and take the other Yablo with him, even if that means ruining life on Earth as everyone knows it.
As someone who grew up learning (and being spooked) by the creatures in Filipino folktales, I was both amused and thrilled to see them come to life and dominate the movie in different ways. Whether they were party animals within a local tribe or intimidating like Nameless, I enjoyed being immersed in this vibrant world because all of the visuals were beyond my imagination. And oddly enough, the Aswang (or vampire-like shape-shifting creature) tended to be the main antagonist of the many stories that were shared at night. So I appreciated the twist of having an Aswang on the side of the humans and fighting to stay in this world, even if that means her kind isn’t widely accepted by the general public. Even though there were some parts of the film that became more complicated, I found myself glued to my seat until the very end. Not to mention, the lush green backdrop and jungle of the Philippines helped audiences feel like a real expedition.
At the end of the day, some truth remains to the movie’s title and how more should fear a world without monsters.