Netflix UK film review: Love and Monsters
Ivan Radford | On 17, Apr 2021
Director: Michael Matthews
Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker
Where to watch Love and Monsters online in the UK: Netflix UK
“Everything will try to kill you. Don’t fight. Just run and hide.” That’s the advice given to Joel (Dylan O’Brien) at the start of Love and Monsters, a dystopian monster adventure that sees the young adult venture out from a bunker and into the apocalyptic outdoors to reunite with his high school sweetheart, Aimee (Jessica Henwick). Stop us if this sounds familiar.
But that’s what makes Love and Monsters so refreshing it’s not as run-of-the-mill as you might think, balancing emotionally engaging characters and Oscar-nominated visual effects with imagination, humour, horror and good old-fashioned fun. The premise is a nice twist on Hollywood disaster flicks: the military unleashed a Massive Missile at a comet set to collide with the planet, only for the chemical fallout to cause insects to mutate into Gigantic Creatures that overrun the Earth – while humans hide in colonies underground.
The animals themselves are reason enough to tune in, with the fantastic beasts ranging from Jaws-like gribblies that lurk beneath the surface and pounce on anything that makes a sound to gooey ants and a ginormous crab with teeth to spare. They drip, squelch, chomp and gnash with the best of them – and never feel like CGI critters that aren’t actually real.
As for the running and hiding, Dylan O’Brien’s got previous from The Maze Runner and he brings heart and charisma to the lovelorn teen. From his friendship with a young girl (Ariana Greenblatt) and a gruff veteran along the way to his uneasy dislike of the super-macho Cap (Dan Ewing) already taking charge at Aimee’s colony, he grounds the action in a likeable story of an insecure boy learning to have some confidence.
Director Michael Matthews (Five Fingers for Marseilles) balances the sweeter elements with exciting set pieces, with Henwick (who impressed as Game of Thrones’ Nymeria Sand and Iron Fist’s Colleen Wing) more than holding her own. The result recalls everything from How to Train Your Dragon to Zombieland, but emerges as its own distinctive monster – a lively, entertaining romp for teens and adults alike.
Love and Monsters is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.