‘Love and Monsters’ shows potential as thriller but fails to live up to it


Dylan O’ Brien stars as Joel Dawson in ‘Love and Monster’, an enjoyable but standard film that incorporates tropes from monster movies with a romantic comedy twist – Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Jocelyn Arroyo-Ariza, Contributing Writer

Not to be confused with the Doctor Who episode of the same name, “Love and Monsters” was released on Oct. 16 to selected theaters and streaming platforms. The film evokes light-hearted romantic comedies from the 1980s but is set after a monster apocalypse. Despite its alluring premise, the film does not execute its concept to its full potential as it lacks originality, ultimately being another generic monster movie.   


In Love and Monsters,” Dylan O’Brien, known for his roles in “Teen Wolf” and “The Maze Runner, stars as Joel Dawson, who inhabits an Earth that was nearly destroyed by a meteor but was saved by rockets launched into the atmosphere. However, the fallout of the rockets mutated insects, which have plundered the human population. The remainder of humanity resides in bunkers in colonies, frightened by the monsters.   


Joel reconnects with his high school girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick) through the radio after being separated for seven years, which serves as the film’s catalyst. He embarks on a quest to reunite with her. Joel leaves his bunker equipped with a bow and arrow to battle against the mutated insects. He encounters a dog who he names Hero and a pair of travelers, Clyde and Minnow, that join him for the rest of his journey. Clyde has been criticized to be a rip-off of Woody Harrelson’s character in Zombieland.   


Throughout the movie, there are several plot twists that keep the audience engaged and although some are expected, others come out of nowhere. The special effects are impressive and do not take the audience out of the viewing experience. The monsters themselves are creepy, playing off the fear of insects.   


What is surprising about “Love and Monsters” is Joel’s character development. Joel’s journey is a coming of age tale, more comparable to John Hughes than the “Walking Dead. Instead of the conventional makeover, Joel develops confidence and becomes a capable leader. This is the most memorable aspect of the film, but the marketing team minimized this during its campaign, instead displaying some of the film’s more paranormal aspects. If the film developed the rest of the main characters, it would have made “Love and Monsters” more remarkable. There are talks of a sequel where this problem can be solved.    


Streaming on Amazon Prime Video for $25.99, “Love and Monsters” is an enjoyable film that could have presented its concepts better. It can be considered derivative, relying heavily on tropes or drawing comparisons to other movies. It tried to be unique with its main characters but failed to develop the rest of the cast. However, if you are looking for something laidback to watch with friends as you prepare last-minute Halloween costumes, this is not a bad choice.