Movie #158 2021: Love and Monsters (2020)

On the surface, Love and Monsters looks like it’s for sure going to be one of those average, uninteresting Netflix movies, but guess what? It’s actually not bad! Being nominated for an Academy Award this year put it on my watchlist anyway, but you should give it a chance regardless of whether or not you care about that sort of thing.

Though it was originally due to be released in cinemas, it was pushed back due to that global pandemic thing, and in the end, Paramount released it as an ‘On Demand’ movie instead. It’s actually one of those movies that probably would have been pretty good on a big screen, but it doesn’t take too much away from it when you see it on the small screen either.

The basic story is that in the not too distant future, a ‘Monsterpocalypse’ has occurred, which means many animals and insects as we know them today have morphed and evolved into monsters that are intent of taking over the planet. Dylan O’Brien plays Joel, who vows to make it across the monster wasteland in order to reunite with his girlfriend from before the apocalypse happened.

Love and Monsters' review: Uncomfortably close to our reality - Los Angeles  Times

First, someone get that dog an Academy Award RIGHT NOW. He’s kind of the best dog I’ve ever seen. But onto the movie itself…

Zombie apocalypses are done to death in film at this point. No pun intended. However, making this a fun teen movie with a sickly sweet story was a great choice that made it feel more fresh and less “more of the same”. It’s definitely too long for what it is at 109 minutes, but it’s a mostly entertaining adventure to witness. 

Love and Monsters Review: A Fun and Imaginative Post-Apocalyptic Romp |  IndieWire

Dylan O’Brien is perfectly fine in the leading role in that he didn’t exactly blow me away but he got the job done well. The real MVPs for me here were actually Michael Rooker (obviously) and Ariana Greenblatt, and I wish they were in it more. Greenblatt especially shines and oozes charisma out of her tiny little pores – I’d be surprised if she’s not a household name in the future. Sadly, the pair of them are only in a couple of sections in the film, and to me, that seems like an utter waste of their talent.

As alluded to previously, I completely get now why this got a nod at the Oscars for its visual effects. Sure, sometimes the oversized mutated creatures are a little hokey, but the way they move and are animated is seamless. Particular highlights involved the booming grenade sequence and the sky jellyfish scene, which was actually kind of beautiful to witness. (Shout out to the giant crab too… which is a sentence I never thought I’d say.)

Mostly… I was pleasantly surprised by this! Even the calibre of the soundtrack surprised me (and then it all made sense when I found out Marco Beltrami (Scream, Ford v Ferrari) was responsible). Though it didn’t leave me speechless, I had a decent time with Love and Monsters even if it was mostly predictable. It’s well worth a look.

Love and Monsters is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Rating: ½

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