IMDb Link: Love and Monsters (2020)
Director: Michael Matthews
Writers: Brian Duffield, Matthew Robinson
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker
Synopsis: In a monster-infested world, Joel learns his girlfriend is just 85 miles away. To make the dangerous journey, Joel discovers his inner hero to be with the girl of his dreams.
Dylan O’Brien is an actor that I have been fascinated by over the past decade, especially with the projects that he has taken on. Whilst he is one of many actors to go into the young adult genre, he has made some great choices with the leading roles he has taken on, particularly with The Maze Runner franchise. To me, he seemed like the perfect choice for this film, Love and Monsters, and I am not surprised that he was great in the role.
This is a story that blends numerous genres but also has fun with it. I have seen people compare this film to Zombieland (2009), and those comparisons are definitely there. This is not the most unique of premises for sure and it does have a classic formula that it sticks to. However, it is the fun that Dylan O’Brien has in the leading role and the unique monsters that the team designed that stops this from being another stereotypical monster movie.
It would have been so easy to make this a story that focused on zombies or werewolves or any of the classic monsters we have grown up with. However, the team have so much fun creating a whole world of creatures, as well as giving them lore and establishing different personalities – both good and bad. In particular, I love the design and functionality of Mav1s and how the android is explored from the start and throughout. The visual effects team really took their time with these creature designs, and they also look wonderful on the screen.
At first, I was not sure if I was sold on why our leading character Joel was heading out into this dangerous world to see his girlfriend. However, the film does a good job establishing their relationship through both flashbacks and voice narration from Joel. These are two things that I usually dislike in storytelling as I find it repetitive and lazy, but the scenes here really help establish the main focus of the journey and also add a distinctive voice to Joel. The voice narration also blends in with Joel using a radio to communicate to his girlfriend, making the narration feel natural within the world.
There is a plotline that starts to develop in the second half of the film that twists the main objective of the journey and creates a conflict in the final section of the film. For me, I struggled to care about this as it is something that does feel forced in the storyline. What was originally just a compelling story of a man tracking this dangerous pathway to get to his girlfriend becomes something that does not take that away, but tries to add more meat to the story that simply did not need it.
For the past year, some of us have just wanted a fun time with a movie filled with creatures and some strong action sequences. If you are not willing right now to pay for Godzilla v Kong in the UK, this is a film that is streaming for free and gives you just as much fun. The designs are fantastic, the leading performance from O’Brien is charismatic and the journey is compelling throughout. I have to admit, this one took me by a bit of surprise.
Love and Monsters is available to watch now on Netflix.