Love and Monsters is an apocalyptic movie that feels a bit antiquated in 2020.
This post for Love and Monsters is spoiler-free.
One has to wonder why would Dylan O’Brien star in another dystopian-esque movie, having been in The Maze Runner franchise a few years back. Set in the post-apocalyptic period, Love and Monsters (2020, directed by Michael Matthews) depicts a world where mutated insects roam the earth and humans have been tucked away in different bunker colonies for survival.
O’Brien’s character Joel Dawson carries the weight of this movie, as audiences go on a journey with him to find his girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick), whom he has not seen in seven years since monsters invaded earth. O’Brien is charismatic as always, his character here reminded me fondly of his rookie days of playing Stiles from MTV’s Teen Wolf.
However, there are some faults to be picked with Love and Monsters. The whole movie is fixated on Joel’s determination to survive for love, but it’s weak in fleshing out a romance subplot as there are inconsistencies to it. Joel only sets out to find Aimee seven years after the monsters’ uprising—one has to wonder if his love for her was so strong, then why didn’t he find her sooner?
The lack of on-screen chemistry between O’Brien and Henwick also did not help. The romance felt one-sided, and perhaps giving Henwick a little bit more to work with on her character would have been nice. Thankfully, the lack of romance is compensated with O’Brien’s road trip buddy, an Australian Kelpie who stole the show with his adorableness.
The movie also does a lot of telling rather than showing, possibly because most of the budget went into making the monsters come to life. Audiences are given a brief introduction of the world-building in Love and Monsters through a series of sketches at the beginning, which is presumably done by Joel since his character is depicted as a talented artist. However, this format of storytelling just makes the movie feel cheap.
I think watching it on the small screen also impacted the quality of the movie. A spectacle like Love and Monsters, which relies heavily on the action-adventure genre to sell itself, should have premiered on the silver screen as it’s meant to be enjoyed that way.