Love and Monsters
Production Companies: 21 Laps Entertainment and Entertainment One
Director: Michael Matthews
Producers: Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen
Scriptwriters: Brian Duffield and Matthew Robinson
Main Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker, Dan Ewing, and Ariana Greenblatt
Release Date: April 142021
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Love and Monsters added to UK Netflix mid-April is an adventure film that explores the aftermath of a ‘monster’ apocalypse. Another film added to the collection of the dystopian genre, although rough around the edges, Love and Monsters isn’t really that bad. A crowd-friendly feature bound to go down well with the family.
An asteroid that has hit earth causes a major chemical fallout. This results in the mutation of creatures that have the ability to brutally murder the whole of humanity. During the evacuation of Fairfield, Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien) is separated from his girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick). The films narrative is now dedicated to Joel and Aimee being reunited.
Seven years later, Joel lives in a bunker, known as the ‘colonies.’ Everyone has re-established their identities with new partners and has dedicated their lives to fighting this new breed of monsters. Except for Joel. Joel is an individual who is incredibly scared of dangerous situations, so he is left behind to be the cook in the kitchen. Later, a fly breaches his colony and attacks his only friend Connor, (Joel Pierce) Joel decides to start his quest to reunite with his one true love Aimee.
Passing through the suburbs, Joel is accompanied by a stray dog named Boy. He follows and protects Joel from unknown dangers such as poisonous berries and the differences between the creatures. Boy teaches Joel a vital piece of information about the creatures which later helps him in a life and death situation.
Despite all the dangerous situations that Joel has to face up, he continues on at a relatively fast pace for apocalyptic cinema. Along the way, he meets two other survivors Clyde (Michael Rooker) and Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt). They teach Joel some survival skills, which he needs.
Eventually, he meets with Aimee. In an unexpected turn of events, Aimee introduces Joel to a colony of elderly survivors who depend on her and also Cap (Dan Ewing) a fellow crewmate. Joel decides to return to his colony, contacting them on the radio and learning that it has become unsafe. Cap sends Joel some berries (in a true Hunger Games fashion) he recognizes them to be poisonous.
Joel, Aimee, and the rest of her colony awaken tied-up on the beach. Cap and his group are there to steal supplies. Cap sets the crab to feed on the colonists, but Joel and Aimee escape and are able to fight for their lives, and Boy returns to help. Joel has the opportunity to kill the crab, but he realizes it is not hostile by looking into its eyes. He shoots the chain, freeing the crab. It leaves Joel unharmed and instead kills Cap and his crew, sinking the yacht in the process.
Finally, Joel hands Aimee his ‘monster survival journal’, and him and Boy head on their way back to their colony. The film ends on a radio broadcast to the other colonies giving them advice and encouragement to adventure to the surface again.
Firstly, Love and Monsters isn’t my favorite apocalyptic film in the genre. However, it does deserve recognition for three things. Those three things are the visuals, the acting, and the dog.
To begin with, the visuals of this film are absolutely brilliant. For someone who enjoys this genre, it’s pretty easy to impress me with just the visuals. Often directors tend to overdo it with the use of the same animals, for example, sharks. After watching so many films that feature sharks murdering humans, it becomes pretty predictable and the film quite boring. I thought a shark would’ve been the animal of choice to support Cap, however, it was a crab. For me, it was interesting to see quite a boring sea-creatures make a feature film. Not only that, but the visuals also made the crab look terrifying. These visuals certainly had a huge impact on the seriousness of the narrative, but they certainly improved the watching experience for me.
Secondly, Dylan O’Brien is no stranger to the dystopian universe. The Maze Runner actor excels in this film. Taking on a similar narrative but adapting to become a completely different character in the film Love and Monsters. When picking the film on Netflix, I thought I would see a repeat of the character Thomas, but we got nothing of the sort. I was impressed by O’Brien’s performance, even if it was cringe-worthy in parts. Alongside this, his co-stars played a convincing role which helped the narrative maintain his pace.
Finally, my favorite part of the film was the Dog, ‘Boy.’ The films are always worth the watch if it has a man and dog relationship, it is true what they say, a dog really is a man’s best friend. I think the addition of the dog sidekick was useful and added another dimension to the film, instead of it being one man fighting for survival.
Finally, Love and Monsters is an interesting addition to the ‘apocalypse’ genre, but one that is well worth the watch.
Target Audience: 12+
Content: Violence, language and sex references.
Overall Rating: 7/10 – Good
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