Directed by: Michael Matthews
Produced by: Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen
Starring: Dylan O'Brien, Jessica Henwick, Dan Ewing, Ariana Greenblatt, Michael Rooker
Run Time: 109 mins
Available on: Netflix
Seven years after the Monsterpocalypse, when the human race was forced to live underground in the relative safety of colonies, Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien) learns that his high school girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick) has been living on the coast only 85 miles away the whole time. Coming to the conclusion that there's nothing left for him in his colony, he decides to brave the surface in order to find his true love. Meeting some hardcore survivors and the world's best dog on the way, he's in for a tough journey!
"Welcome to the apocalypse, kid. The food sucks. At least you'll never know what you're missing."
April 14th saw the global release of Netflix’s Love and Monsters, a post-apocalyptic comedy which follows Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien) as he leaves the relative safety of his bunker and attempts an 85-mile journey across the monster-infested surface to reunite with his high-school girlfriend. Having spent seven years underground and not really feeling like he’s contributing much other than making a mean minestrone and fixing the radio, Joel finally decides it’s time to be brave and take the risk. When the bunker is breached and a monster takes some of the colony, Joel attempts to help in the assault against it - this is when we learn how scared he is and how bad his freezing problem is.
This spurs the feeling of uselessness he’s harbouring and when he’s talking to Aimee over the radio, he decides enough is enough. He doesn't want to be the only single one left at the end of the world, so he packs a bag and heads out to find his love. Encountering several monsters right from the start, he keeps up a comedic monologue which quickly turns into a conversation with Boy. We quickly learn that Boy is the world’s best dog when he saves Joel from a giant toad and then decides to join him on his quest. Boy gives warnings when monsters are close, preventing many attacks that would have ended badly. He can’t, however, prevent Joel from falling into a hole that turns out to be a monster nest.
Fortunately, he’s rescued by two survivors. Clyde (Michael Rooker) and Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt) save Joel and travel with him, teaching him everything they’ve learnt about monsters and how to survive when each one attacks. The three form a tight bond but eventually, part ways as Clyde and Minnow head for the mountains and Joel keeps going west to the coast. After a few more close calls Joel finally makes it to Aimee’s shelter and the two are reunited. All is not well in the end, however, when a strapping Australian yacht captain and his crew attempt to steal food from the colony, something that’s been joked about throughout the film. This is Joel’s moment, however, as Minnow told him on their journey together, “you can always tell in the eyes.” The monsters aren’t always out for blood, and in realising this, Joel is able to save more than just the people on the beach.
Love and Monsters was definitely a pleasant surprise! Dylan O’Brien, known for Teen Wolf and The Maze Runner trilogy, is perfectly suited to the lead role and delivered a hilarious and seriously entertaining performance as Joel. His chemistry with Michael Rooker, commonly recognised as Yondu in Guardians of The Galaxy, and Ariana Greenblatt was an asset to their onscreen relationship and really went a long way in creating a realistic set of characters amongst such a fantastical plotline. Despite its post-apocalyptic setting, the film manages to be a family-friendly, feel-good film that really brightens up an evening while watching with friends or family.
With direction by Michael Matthews and production by Dan Cohen, previously known for The Darkest Minds, Shawn Levy who’s well known for producing Stranger Things and the Night At The Museum trilogy, the film was bound to be a success. The film has been taken in the best direction and strikes a perfect balance between comedy, action, and more serious tones. Shawn Levy’s input is visible throughout Love and Monsters which only adds to the film. This makes it feel familiar and boosts the family-friendly, feel-good vibes it gives off.
The film is definitely worth seeing if you’re a fan of rom-coms and dystopian, post-apocalyptic films, Love and Monsters is a perfect balance of all of it! Following one character with such a clear goal allows for the film to stray from the plot on occasion without making it feel as though the film is distracted which is a really effective way of telling the story. Available to watch on Netflix, it should definitely be on your list!
"Don't settle. You don't have to. Even at the end of the world."
Words by Chloe Pollard.