Film Review: LOVE AND MONSTERS (2020): Michael Matthews’ Movie Lacks Love and Memorable Monsters

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Love And Monsters Movie Poster

Love and Monsters Review

Love and Monsters (2020) Film Review, a movie directed by Michael Matthews, written by Brian Dufdield and Matthew Robinson, and stars Dylan O’Brian, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker, Dan Ewing, Donnie Baxter, Ellen Hollman, Damien Garvey, Tandi Wright, Amali Golden, Tasneem Roc, Miriama Smith, Ariana Greenblatt, and Te Kohe Tuhaka.

Vampires and zombies have run their course. Now it’s back to the good old fashioned monsters with Monster Hunter coming out soon, but before that, we have Love and Monsters. To be clear, I don’t like it when action movies are undercut by a 30-40 minute romantic subplot if that’s what I didn’t pay to see, but this one at least tells the viewer in the title: LOVE and Monsters.

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This movie started off with me grinning. I love the opening montage of showing, in a cartoon-way, how the world had ends, leaving only 5% of the human race alive. As the movie progresses, however, the viewer realizes that they are watching a really bad version of ZombielandEven the characters are set up to mirror those in Ruben Fleischer‘s zombie classic. You have the cowardly star, the cowboy-hat-wearing redneck, and the cute and cussing little girl.

But there is one crucial difference: It seems like no one involved in Love and Monsters is having as much fun as the crew had over on Zombieland. 

Dylan O’Brian seems bored or boring in Love and Monsters. Maybe that’s his way. I only know him from the voice of Bumblebee; I never saw Maze Runner. The little girl who played Minnow was cute and had the potential to steal the show. And Michael Rooker – you know him as Yondu from Guardians of the Galaxy and Merle from The Walking Dead. But I can assure you, you’re not going to remember him as Clyde from this movie. 

One of the biggest problems I have with Love and Monsters is that it keeps skipping opportunities for good comedy. The movie never takes the time to let a comedy scene play out or really even crack more than one joke every ten-to-twenty minutes. 

There is one scene in Love and Monsters that is really visually stunning, with a great song to back it up. It is powered by a lot of emotion and then it just gets cut short, before the song even gets to the chorus. Maybe that is the point – Night Jellies just might be the best thing that’s happened in 2020. 

Love and Monsters tries hard not to be like Stranger Things. It is so passive-aggressively 80’s for no real reason at all – Stand by Me is hugely referenced in two back-to-back scenes, with the writers most-likely thinking “I hope they don’t catch on.” 

The writers of Love and Monsters set up freezing as a monster weakness at one point in the film then it never really comes back up again. Radios cut out at the most inopportune times so frequently that it becomes reliable occurrence. Because of this unreliability, you’d think the characters would stop having idle chitchat when the radio channels were working. You’d be mistaken in that assumption.

In the end, Love and Monsters doesn’t feature a lot of love, monsters, but lots of drama. There is more love and chemistry in Sleepless in Seattle and the two leads in that film didn’t physically meet until the last minute of the movie. 

Love and Monsters should be much quirkier and edgier than it actually is. It felt like writers Brian Duffield and Matthew Robinson had this steampunk vibe in mind for their film but Paramount Pictures wanted it to be much more traditional and bland. 

Because of the on-going pandemic, Love and Monsters has a definite ‘beat Covid-19 and get out of your house’ vibe, like, ‘go live your life even-though there’s danger and viruses everywhere.’ I applaud that sub-textual sentiment within the film, though I doubt its writers knew that a pandemic would be in full swing when this film was eventually released.

Love and Monsters isn’t a bad movie, but it is a boring one. The viewer won’t regret watching it but they’ll never think about this film again. 

Rating: 5/10

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