‘Love and Monsters’ (2020) Review

Seven years after chemically enhanced monsters take over the world, Joel (Dylan O’Brien) – the shy, bumbling boy next door – resurfaces from his bunker and sets off on a life-changing adventure to reunite with his girlfriend (Jessica Henwick).

Michael Matthews’ dystopian monster flick is in actuality a comical coming-of-age tale with an immense amount of heart. Love and Monsters is enjoyable for the entire family. Dylan O’Brien oozes charisma and his enthusiasm as Joel is utterly infectious; his presence on-screen spreads nothing but joy whilst he showcases his talent in comedy, vulnerability and self-assurance. Joel’s journey is genuinely heartwarming to witness as O’Brien brings clear depth to the character.

Matthews captures the adventurous tone exceptionally well. He keeps the narration and flashbacks to a minimum but wraps up loose ends neatly and sets out explanations without being overly expositional. The story is split into brief segments; each one has Joel encountering a new character or monster that proves beneficial to his development. Every chapter is concise with an obvious structure, making the film fairly light yet compelling.

Love and Monsters is like watching a collaboration of Zombieland (2009) and the Fallout series. The comparisons with the latter are uncanny; it even seems as though Matthews’ feature is an unofficial adaptation of the popular video game. Nonetheless, it is still a charming, moderately original screenplay that celebrates the quirky, dysfunctional nature of these post-apocalyptic franchises.

The special effects in the movie are truly impressive. The monsters are fun, imaginative and not at all overly complex. Even the action sequences are smooth and no where near as silly as they could have been. There is somewhat of a childlike innocence to the creatures, which makes it all the more amusing when O’Brien must face off against one.

Love and Monsters is simply delightful. Dylan O’Brien shines in his role and gives a downright wholesome performance. From the very beginning, you want nothing more than for him to succeed. This is absolutely a film that you will not want to miss!

Love and Monsters is available on Netflix

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