Love and Monsters
In any other crowded film release year, a movie like Love and Monsters would fall by the wayside and not really garner any word of mouth. In 2020 however, when there are no other movies out, Love & Monsters comes along and inexplicably receives a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and decent buzz on twitter. So is the movie a true gem to come out of this year, or an average film that just got lucky?
The always likable young adult actor Dylan O'Brien stars as Joel, a young man who has spent the last seven years surviving the apocalypse with a group of strangers. All of his fellow survivors have all found love and happily found their match within the bunker, and Joel can't help but feel a bit lonely. A romantic at heart, Joel can't help but wonder how different his life had been had this apocalypse not abruptly ended his last relationship, with who considered the love of his life, Aimee (Jessica Henwick.) He knows Aimee is still alive and in another bunker about 80 miles away, in fact they've even spoken and exchanged a few laughs. Convinced that their separation is the only thing standing in the way of their happy ending, Joel sets out to win her back. The only problem is that apocalypse has basically changed all animal life, making the smallest animals and insects now gigantic monsters.
Love and Monsters is your run of the mill YA fantasy adventure film. It's not particularly tense (though there are certainly some good sequences here,) nor is it particularly funny. You get the sense that the film was created around sequences rather than actual plot and that doesn't make it particularly compelling. The film meanders along and Joel eventually meets up with a couple survivors showing him that it is possible to live on the land. They don't add much and you forget about them as soon as they're not on the screen anymore. Unfortunately, that sentiment is pretty much true for the rest of the film as well. The end sequence actually attempts some meta poignancy amid the pandemic, and the ending does feel timely. But ultimately it all feels a bit too little, too late. While I'm happy to have new movies and anything is welcome right now, it still doesn't change the fact that this one just felt too formulaic for me.