Love And Monsters: Why You Should Check Out This Indie Gem

Love And Monsters: Why You Should Check Out This Indie Gem

In the midst of witches (The Craft: Legacy, The Witches), Billy Murray (On The Rocks), and sequels (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) came the independent feature, Love and Monsters; Starring Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner, Deepwater Horizon), Jessica Henwick (Underwater, On The Rocks), and Michael Rooker (The Suicide Squad, F9), the film picks up seven years after the monsterpocalypse, where Joel Dawson is living underground due to the giant creatures controlling the land. Joel realizes that his high school girlfriend, Aimee, is only 80 miles away from a coastal colony. Tired of feeling worthless and alone, Joel heads out to reconnect with his long-lost love, with only the dangerous monsters standing in his way. Deep within the coronavirus pandemic, this little indie feature didn’t really get the spotlight it deserves since the world of movies wasn’t exactly on fire in the month of October. However, Love and Monsters was a critical darling with a much deserved 94% on rotten tomatoes. The 2020 feature was also nominated for an Academy Award for best visual effects. So, what makes the latest monster flick such a gem? It’s a combination of winning performances, special effects, and a charming dog with a red dress.

First, Love and Monsters isn’t exactly the most original film on the planet. However, even if you’ll see the plot coming from a mile away, this is still a fun movie that will have you smiling all the way through. At the heart of Love and Monsters is Dylan O’Brien of The Maze Runner and Teen Wolf fame. There’s a reason that many deemed the 30-year-old a future leading man as the star plays the loveable loser to perfection. Granted, isn’t that much of a loser, but his fear of monsters is what holds him back from reaching his true potential. O’Brien oozes with loads of charisma, so when he’s asked to be sad, happy, scared, or charming, the actor pulls off the necessary emotions with ease. It helps that the actor is aided with a good script to boot. The story is simple; however, the plot never feels thin because director Michael Matthews effortlessly guides the story from beginning to end. What’s more impressive is the special effects, with the actual creatures looking highly realistic despite Love and Monsters being an independent feature. The film wisely focuses on characters more than awe-inspiring action, and the movie is all the better for it as the emotional depth is one of the strong aspects of the film.

O’Brien is aided by a cast of fun characters, namely Michael Rooker‘s Clyde and Ariana Greenblatt‘s Minnow. While these two aren’t with Joel during the entire journey, they still make a lasting impression because of their fun dynamic and banter. Joel’s dynamic between Boy (a Australian Kelpie who lost his owner) and Mav1s (a robot) helps bring the heart of the film in unexpected ways. It’s kind of hard to hate anyone who loves dogs, and the film wisely uses the relationship to help develop O’Brien’s character. The scene with Mav1s and Joel is one of the best in the film because of the emotional weight that it carries. Also, there’s a beautiful moment with some sky jellies (harmless giant jellyfish). As I’ve stated previously, you’re likely to guess nearly every beat of this film; however, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason to dislike the core cast of the story.

The human antagonists are nothing special and you can easily see the “twist” coming a mile away, but that doesn’t make the movie less enjoyable. By the time the third act comes around, we’ve been able to connect with Joel and Aimee so much that you’ll easily root for them to win. Unless you’re a heartless bastard who likes smug food stealers that is. Other than the monsters, the action is pretty crisp and smooth. This film doesn’t feature crazy and over-the-top spectacles but the action and set pieces are fun nevertheless. There’s also a nice blend of action and story, so there aren’t any long stretches that go without either. All-in-all, Love and Monsters is a great addition to the end of world/monster apocalypse. What it lacks in originality, the film makes up in great action, a simple and solid story with great emotional depth, and fun characters. When you get a chance, check out this indie gem.

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