Love and Monsters premiered digitally on October 16, and it immediately became the perfect rom-com monster movie to watch alone or with that special someone.
This movie really has it all — an epic quest, scary monsters, young love, lots of laughs, and literally the best dog in the entire world.
Love and Monsters follows Joel as he rides out the monster apocalypse in an underground bunker with a whole bunch of couples. That’s the real torture, right? He misses his high school sweetheart, Aimee (Jessica Henwick), and when everything starts going south, he decides to walk almost 100 miles to see for the first time in seven years.
Nothing could possibly go wrong, right?
Joel is, quite possibly, the luckiest man on earth. First, he befriends an incredible dog who saves his life, and then he runs into Clyde (Michael Rooker) and Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt), who take him under their wings and teach him the ways of this new monster-infested world.
And while not all the monsters are bone-chillingly terrifying, there are a few that might make your skin crawl. I loved the uniqueness of each creature, both in their looks and their abilities, which made this world feel fresh and new. They presented a high-stakes environment without making it feel like you were watching a horror movie.
I’ll be honest and say the clear star of the show is Boy, the dog that saves Joel’s life and subsequently accompanies him on his quest to find Aimee. This dog had such a huge personality, and he stole the spotlight throughout the entire film. If every person had a dog like Boy, the world would be a much better place (with fewer monsters, too!).
Dylan O’Brien does hold his own against Boy, though, and he provides a lot of heart for this film. He also provides a lot of physical comedy, and if you’ve ever watched Teen Wolf, then you know this man has always been talented in this arena.
The flailing limbs, the clumsy legs, the silly faces, and the perfect line delivery are becoming trademarks of Dylan’s acting style, at least in these kinds of roles. While I love him in American Assassin and wouldn’t be mad if we got more hard-hitting action movies from him, it was nice to see him playing a wholesome, bumbling, romantic lead who also got to do a fair amount of action.
Love and Monsters managed to hit every note exactly right throughout this story, and while Dylan’s performance drove that point home, it’s obvious that the humor and heart of this movie started in the script.
This film found a way to blend giant bugs, robots, the apocalypse, and a coming of age/love story together into a fantastical tale that was tense, hilarious, genuine, and hopeful all at once. But even more than that, this story is about a young man who survives the end of the world and finally comes into his own.
And that’s exactly why I said this movie is perfect to watch either alone or with your loved one. Yes, Joel’s driving motivation is his love for Aimee, but the journey is far more important than the destination, and by the end of the film, you feel as though you’ve witnessed something truly special when our hero overcomes his fears and learns to stand on his own two feet.
Plus, Aimee isn’t just used as a love interest. She’s a strong, capable woman who could definitely kick your ass (I mean, you don’t hire Jessica Henwick for nothing), but she’s also smart, compassionate, and brave. Aimee wears multiple hats in this movie, and they all look fantastic on her.
And although Joel doesn’t wear too many hats in the beginning, he keeps adding to his arsenal as the film trucks along. He might’ve gotten there sooner or later on his own, but Clyde and Minnow certainly kick-start the process.
Michael Rooker plays his role in perfect Michael Rooker style. He’s a bit offbeat, but he also has a lot of wisdom to dispense to this kid that he’s not entirely sure what to make of. He’s tough and strict (that second rule to keep in mind sucks), but he cares about the people around him.
For her part, Ariana Greenblatt has no problem standing toe to toe with either of these actors. She’s tiny, she’s cute, and she’s fierce. She’s also way more of a warrior than Joel. And while she gets a few ribs in here or there, you can also tell she’s taken a liking to him and his dog (but mostly the dog).
Clyde and Minnow are an odd pair, but it’s a pairing that works for them. Each one provides the other with something they’ve lost, and I can appreciate that while Love and Monsters is borne out of a deep sadness, it leaves you feeling light, hopeful, and excited for the future.
Needless to say, we need more movies like Love and Monsters — ones that allow their characters to feel their pain and then use it to love even more deeply.