Love & Monsters throws us into a dystopian future whereby the destruction of a incoming asteroid with biological and nuclear weapons causes all creatures on the earth to grow and mutate to monstrous sizes from the weapons fallout. Thus sets in motion 90% of the worlds population being killed off with remaining 10% hiding away for the most part in underground silos (called colonies), only coming up for food and supplies.
Joel (Dylan O’Brien) learns his high school sweetheart (Jessica Henwick) is just 85 miles away, 7 years after they were separated by a monster uprising. Now, Joel must discover his inner hero, facing unknown dangers on the impossible journey to be with the girl of his dreams.
Another film that was affected by the global Pandemic, Love & Monsters was meant to receive a global release in cinemas Feb of 2021. However Netflix rescued it from multiple date changes and released it on the streaming platform.
The film itself directed by Michael Matthews is without a doubt great fun. It manages to be terrifying and generally edge of your seat exciting while still remaining on the right side of amusing. The plot doesn’t expand the futuristic survival genre, but it does embolden the arena it sticks too. Throw in some dashes of films such as Tremors and Zombieland and you have a genuine hit here that will unfortunately miss out on a wider audience for the big screen, unless Paramount and Netflix allow it to be distributed once more when the public can return.
The influence of Stranger Things cinematographer Lachlan Milne, is clear to see in the monster driven sequences, which are expertly handled without ever becoming just another CGI beast. In fact the whole production benefits as it’s Australian locales are beautifully encapsulated within the proceedings.
The cast are simply terrific, Dylan O’Brien (Maze Runner, American Assassin) is quickly becoming an complete movie star, with him balancing the characters quirks, while carrying off the leading man with some aplomb. Jessica Henwick who will be instantly recognisable to MCU TV fans also, puts in a all to brief appearance, but doesn’t waste anytime with what she has. Michael Rooker, who if you are making an apocalyptic type project should be one of the first names on your list, again is great fun, channelling his inner Merle from The Walking Dead, he arrives and teaches our hero (O’Brien) what it takes to survive alongside the delightful Ariana Greenblatt as a evolved version of the Feral Kid in Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior) as Minnow. However the entire cast and monsters within are upstaged by Boy (Hero and Dodge) the heroic Doggo who accompanies Joel on his journey. The dog/s convey one of the most heartbreaking moments of Love & Monsters with real emotion, when we discover where he has been hiding before he rescues Joel (For the first of many times). Boy is the superstar of the film and is a real joy to behold in every scene he’s in.
Love & Monsters is an absolute blast (In more ways than one) and despite the story having no real surprises, you know what the result of Joel’s quest will be long before he reaches its conclusion, but unlike many other films of this genre, it will leave you longing for a sequel. If only for the further adventures of Boy.