LOVE AND MONSTERS Review; "[It] Does For Monster Movies What ZOMBIELAND Did For Zombies...But Better"

Love and Monsters arrives on PVOD and in select theaters this Friday, but is the movie starring Dylan O'Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker, and Ariana Greenblatt worth your time? Here's our verdict...

Reviews Opinion

With pretty much every major blockbuster now pushed into 2021, upcoming movies are few and far between, and we really don't have a huge amount to look forward to. Thankfully, there are some real gems coming to PVOD platforms and select theaters between now and the end of the year, with Love and Monsters a movie you definitely need to make a priority when it's released this Friday. 

Set seven years after the "Monsterpocalypse," we pick up with Joel (Dylan O'Brien), a hapless survivor who isn't taken remotely seriously in the underground bunker he now calls home. However, once he reconnects with his high school sweetheart Aimee (Jessica Henwick) over the radio, he decides to embark on an eighty-mile trek to her coastal colony in the hope they'll be reunited and pick up where they left off. However, with monsters now ruling the land, he needs to overcome his shortcomings and become a badass monster hunter to reunite with the women he loves. Luckily, he stumbles across two tough as nails survivors in Clyde (Michael Rooker) and Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt), not to mention an adorable canine sidekick in Boy. 

There are definitely some similarities to Zombieland here, particularly when Joel encounters Cylde and Minnow. However, it's there that those end, and Love and Monsters quickly establishes itself as a very different beast (no pun intended). Not relying quite so heavily on crass humour and gore, it instead establishes itself as a movie with something for everyone...especially if you're a dog lover! Five Fingers For Marseilles director Michael Matthews makes his blockbuster debut here, and establishes himself as a filmmaker to watch in Hollywood moving forward. Visually, this is considerably more interesting than a lot of similar movies, with the VFX used to enhance the stunning real-life Australian locations rather than being the basis for this world. Cinematographer Lachlan Milne is given some great places to work with, and there's a scene with jellyfish-like creatures which is a true sight to behold. The "Monsterpocalypse" is something we definitely want to continue exploring in future (there's real franchise potential here, and a sequel is a must), and Matthews puts himself on the map here with one of 2020's best movies. 

With a fresh spin on the monster genre, Love and Monsters delivers big laughs, epic action, and terrific performances. The entire cast is on top form, and O'Brien is excellent, while Rooker and Greenblatt might just be our new favourite on-screen duo. That young actress - who first hit our radar as the young Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War - is bursting with talent, and being able to bounce off Rooker so effortlessly at such a young age is impressive. Henwick is also great, proving she's very much leading lady material ahead of her debut as the new lead of The Matrix franchise, while those cast in smaller, supporting roles never feel out of place with this A-List foursome. 

No doubt most important for monster fans are the fact that the creatures here look awesome, are wonderfully inventive, and pretty damn frightening at times. The action scenes are also solid, and there are heaps of edge of your seat moments here to get lost in. With Joel such a hapless hero, the stakes feel high, and it was vital for a movie like this to have a lead it's easy to root for. Thankfully, that's the case from the start, and O'Brien is a real likeable presence. Love and Monsters, as the title suggests, also has a lot of heart, and the unorthadox direction the romance heads down means this is very much a story which doesn't deliver the expected plot beats and instead surprises in a lot of clever and inventive ways. Simply put, his is not a movie you should overlook, even if it isn't receiving a traditional theatrical release and the promotion that comes with that. There's a lot to love, and we can only hope it does well enough on PVOD to open the door to the aforementioned sequels because this feels like the opening to a book that's only going to get better and better with each subsequent chapter.

Love and Monsters does for monster movies what Zombieland did for zombies...but better! With a likeable cast, a strong premise, a lot of heart, and some of the coolest monster designs we've seen, this is a must-see.


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