Love and Monsters is one of those big Summer like movies I wish I would have seen on the big screen. It’s a fun thrill ride set in a post apocalyptic world overrun by an array of mutated beasts that range from being the size of cars or high rise buildings. But at the film’s heart, the story is about a young man’s journey and emotional growth during extraordinary times.
The film is directed by Michael Matthews, with Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen serving as producers. The film stars Dylan O’Brien, Michael Rooker, Ariana Greenblatt and Jessica Henwick. Originally set for a theatrical release but due to COVID-19 it premiered via VOD.
Seven years after the Monsterpocalypse, Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien; Teen Wolf; The Maze Runner), along with the rest of humanity, has been living underground ever since giant creatures took control of the land. After reconnecting over radio with his high school girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick; Iron Fist) who is now 80 miles away at a coastal colony, Joel begins to fall for her again. As Joel realizes that there’s nothing left for him underground, he decides against all logic to venture out to Aimee, despite the dangerous monsters that stand in his way.
Like Zombieland, I feel like Love and Monsters would have benefited more if it were released as a 4 or 5 part limited series. The film creates a very interesting world akin to something like the video game, Fallout, where there are bunkers of people and dozens and dozens of creatures roaming the land. All of which aren’t bad either. When Joel runs into fellow travelers Clyde (Michael Rooker) and Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt) they teach Joel how to survive and how to distinguish the good creatures from the bad, it’s all in the eyes.
The biggest mistake of the film is when Joel, Clyde, and Minnow separate. I felt like the film had something strong going with the three working together and even thought we’d see them somehow play into the final act. But they just leave and continue their own journey. Maybe the writing team felt as though they were lifting too much from Zombieland, but I thought it worked. Nevertheless, Joel’s other companion is a dog named Boy. It’s revealed Boy’s former owner, a young girl, was killed. So he carries with him her dress wherever he goes. Boy and Joel develop a very deep friendship and aid each other in some of the best moments in the film.
Now at first when Joel reunites with Aimee and it’s revealed she has kind of moved on (despite Joel being stuck in the moment of their relationship 7 years ago.) I was pretty disappointed. But it’s a dilemma most people face real life. You can’t reclaim the past once it’s gone. This revelation to Joel helps him realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and the importance of him returning home to his friends.
As the movie ends it presents a pretty profound statement about not being afraid of the dangers of the outside world, but instead embrace them and live your life. A message that really resonates right now more than ever with people in quarantine due to COVID-19. Joel realizes that after overcoming his fears, there’s a big world out there, and even if monsters roam in it, so can he.
In conclusion, Love and Monsters is a fun sci-fi action thriller that is perfect for the whole family. HipsterZOMBIEJoint Experience suggests you nibble on the fun that’s delivered by Love and Monsters.