Love and Monsters is a monster-adventure film starring Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick and Michael Rooker. The film was released globally on 14th April 2021 and is exclusively available to stream on Netflix.
Love and Monsters is set seven years after a Monsterpocalypse and follows hapless romantic Joel, as he sets out on a monster ravaged quest to find his girlfriend Aimee, whom he was separated with at the beginning of the Monsterpocalypse. Plot wise, the film follows a classic tale of adventure we’ve seen numerous times before, but the dynamic of the main antagonists being giant, mutated, cold-blooded animals is a welcome change to zombies, which we’ve seen in plentiful supply in recent years.
Dylan O’Brien plays lead character Joel and his performance of the nervous, bumbling romantic is fantastic. Dylan O’Brien brings so much charisma and charm to the character that it is hard not to like him! A good portion of the story is told by Dylan O’Brien in almost a narration style as he writes letters to his long-lost love Aimee and not only does this aid the development of the story and add to the backstory, but also offers a nice perspective to Joel’s character. The film predominantly focuses on things from Joel’s point of view, so the majority of supporting characters get limited screen time.
Joel’s love interest Aimee (played by Jessica Henwick) features towards the end of the film, however her character feels ultimately indistinctive in the grand scheme of things. Half-way through Joel’s quest, he befriends two survivors played by Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt. Michael Rooker is fantastic in the majority of things he is in and Love and Monsters is no different! Likewise, Ariana Greenblatt is fantastic too and considering she just 13 years old, her performance felt very assured. It’s just a shame we don’t see enough of these two!
Undoubtedly however, the real star of the film is “Boy”, a stray dog which saves Joel’s life and follows him on his journey. I’m always impressed by well-trained animals in film and tv and I was dazzled by the intelligent performance of the Australian Kelpie in Love and Monsters. He is without question, a good boy!
As I mentioned earlier, the world of Love and Monsters is plagued by huge, ravenous cold-blooded animals, such as giant toads and giant centipedes. I was a little unsure at first how these monstrous creatures would translate on screen, but the creatures actually looked fantastic and somewhat believable! So often we see films where the visual effects just don’t marry up to the rest of the on-screen action, but the visual effects in Love and Monsters are near faultless. These visual effects are even more impressive when you consider the relatively modest budget used to create the film ($30 million).
For the most part, Love and Monsters is a fun, exciting adventure with an inventive premise, it’s just a shame that the movie’s last act ends up feeling a little disappointing. I have little complaints about three-quarters of the film but the big, elaborate final sequence just feels out of place compared to the rest of the film. The ending feels a little rushed and as a result feels all too familiar and predictable. It’s disappointing as I enjoyed the bulk of the movie, the final sequence just leaves something to be desired.
Love and Monsters doesn’t break any post-apocalyptic boundaries, but its likeable cast and dazzling visual effects make it an enjoyable watch.