Films like this are very rare these days. The number of times a studio greenlights an original idea that has the feel of something that would’ve been in theatres over a decade or two ago is slim to none. LOVE AND MONSTERS (2020), although meant for the big screen, has just become available to watch at home and I feel that this gem of an adventure will go way under the radar. With a fun concept from start to finish and a real emotional core throughout, I had an absolute blast watching this film.
After attempting to save the planet, the human race accidentally created an apocalypse. Many years later, separated from his girlfriend, family, and now surviving with a group of warriors, Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien) ventures out to find the love of his life. With the world now infested with giant, mutated insects, the journey will not be easy. The premise itself feels almost too familiar to fully enjoy, but the visuals make it feel unique and the fun tone and uplifting performance by O’Brien made it all worth it. I’ve also been a fan of his performances for some time now, so I may be a little biased in that regard.
LOVE AND MONSTERS takes the concept of characters being dropped into the apocalypse and spins it on its head. Just when you think it’s about to get predictable, it pulls a little fast one and keeps you on your feet. Sure, some of the voiceovers can be a bit much and even a little distracting, but again, Dylan O’Brien is just a very likable actor and he sells pretty much any material he’s ever given. At its core, this is a family adventure film, but it’s also PG-13, so there is an emotional depth that gives it a layer I wasn’t expecting. Yes, it’s a little too tame sometimes, but I felt that gave it more charm.
More than anything, I’m impressed that director Michael Matthews hadn’t worked on anything of this scale before. His work here is miles ahead of many Hollywood directors coming out of the indie realm and I really hope he continues to get more work. It would be unfair if the improbable box office for this movie hurts his future chances. It’s not that I absolutely loved this film or anything, but Matthews’ touch was very apparent and the movie felt like it had a personality. That’s something most Hollywood movies lack these days.
In the end, as I said, this isn’t anywhere near a perfect film, but it’s the most fun I’ve had watching a new release in many months. If you’re looking for something to immerse yourself in a world that’s both unique and entertaining, LOVE AND MONSTERS could very well be the film you need right now. I was invested in the character of Joel Dawson from beginning to end and the emotional core of the movie really worked for me. I watched this film with a giant grin on my face and right now, that’s really all I can ask for, especially when the movie itself is well-made. Though it has faults throughout, I absolutely recommend checking out LOVE AND MONSTERS, now available to stream on some services.