SYNOPSIS: Seven years after the Monsterpocalypse, Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien), 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), 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 to venture out to Aimee, despite all the dangerous monsters that stand in his way. The fun-filled and action-packed adventure also stars Dan Ewing, Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt.
What We Thought:
Love and Monsters is exactly the fun creature feature I was hoping it would be. It doesn’t try to be anything it’s not and it’s a whole lotta fun because of it. I quite enjoyed it.
The best way to describe the film is Zombieland with monsters instead of zombies. It opens right before the apocalypse and then jumps right into the post-apocalyptic world seven years later. It gives a bit of an explanation of what happened, but it’s smart in not overcomplicating things. Tell the audience where they are, a brief bit of what happened and you don’t get stuck having to explain things later on.
We are introduced to Dylan O’Brien’s Joel, the lead of the film. He lives underground with some other survivors in a small colony. Other colonies of survivors are out there and can communicate with each other. Joel reconnects with Jessica Henwick’s character and after being called useless one too many times, decides to leave his colony to find her. That’s what I liked the most about the film, almost every character makes fun of Joel. His colony doesn’t let him hunt because he’s seen as weak. They all firmly expect him to die on his journey. Just like Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland, he doesn’t appear to be the type that could last long in an apocalypse, but he takes notes, records what monsters look like and their strengths and weaknesses.
He then runs into the always awesome Michael Rooker and his young companion. They instantly make fun of Joel for falling into a trap, but they take him under their wings and try to teach him some survival skills. By the time he finally gets to Henwick’s colony, Joel has taken on some monsters, got himself a dog and turned into a survivor.
The third act doesn’t go where you expect it either. You expect a 100% happy ending, Joel and Henwick’s Aimee will reunite and fall back in love, but instead she’s on her way out with a yacht captain wanting to save her colony. It takes a twist and Joel has to finally be the man everyone has been rooting for all movie. If O’Brien doesn’t play Joel as the nerdy, yet everyman type, you don’t cheer on Joel, but O’Brien plays him brilliantly. I can easily see Dylan O’Brien being the next Paul Rudd, that normal-ish everyman type who doesn’t seem to age and can pull off comedy and action like this film.
I had seen a trailer for Love and Monsters months back and thought it looked good. I’m pleased to say it is. It’s something I can see myself rewatching like Zombieland. The CGI creatures look and sound great in 4K and even though I usually hate CGI, it’s necessary here and doesn’t look out of place. There are some entertaining bonus features as well including deleted scenes and how they built the beach scene. In a weird year for movies, it is one of my favorites of the year.
- Deleted scenes
- Bottom of the Food Chain: The Cast of Love and Monsters
- It’s a Monster’s World: Creating a Post-Apocalyptic Landscape
DIRECTED BY | Michael Matthews
PRODUCED BY | Sean Levy and Dan Cohen
SCREENPLAY BY | Brian Duffield and Matthew Robinson
STARRING | Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Dan Ewing, Ariana Greenblatt and Michael Rooker
Runtime | 108 Minutes
Rating | PG-13 for action/violence, language and some suggestive material