Love and Monsters review: Dylan O’Brien saves a PG-rated Zombieland

Dylan O’Brien in Love and Monsters, out on digital platforms on Oct. 16.


Submit-apocalyptic films are large proper now. Whereas we look ahead to A Quiet Place Part II to land in April subsequent yr, Love and Monsters presents an identical premise, set in a destroyed world overrun by creatures with a style for human flesh.

However there’s sweetness to go together with the PG-rated scares, because of the goofy appeal of Teen Wolf star Dylan O’Brien and his equally charismatic canine co-star. Throw in a shade of Zombieland end-of-world banter and you can do worse than give this highway film your video-on-demand greenback. (Initially set for a theatrical launch, Love and Monsters hits digital on Oct. 16.)

O’Brien performs 20-something Joel, who rapidly fills us in on the state of the world: Seven years in the past, people blew up an Earth-threatening asteroid with missiles, failing to appreciate chemical compounds would then rain down on us and mutate creepy bugs and warty amphibians into lower than unbelievable beasts.

However that is previous information: Now Joel’s residing in an underground bunker in one among humanity’s final colonies. Not like his friends, he is the one one who hasn’t shacked up with, nicely, whoever’s nonetheless alive and single.

In between muffling his ears from the skinny partitions, he pines over his girlfriend from earlier than the apocalypse: Aimee, performed by Iron Fist’s Jessica Henwick. In her insubstantial display time, Henwick finally will get to point out off the martial arts expertise she’s identified for. However wringing a character out of her paper-thin Love Curiosity materials is a tricky problem.


Jessica Henwick as Aimee.


Unable to face being a singleton any longer, Joel units off on an 80-mile journey throughout the monster-ridden floor to reunite with Aimee. By no means thoughts that the final time they noticed one another was, um, seven years in the past.

However nothing’s stopping him, not big boulder-mimicking snails, “sand gobblers” or slobbery praying mantises which have side-jobs on Physician Who. When Joel meets Boy, a canine who refuses to unhinge his jaw from the crimson gown his beloved proprietor left behind, we go all Hunt for the Wilderpeople, with a number of the finest, most heartfelt human-animal friendship targets scenes.

“Appears like we’re this iconic duo,” Joel says in voiceover.


Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt as Clyde and Minnow.


Initially, it is arduous to consider O’Brien, who additionally starred within the Maze Runner collection, is a nerd somebody truly describes as “small.” However finally he provides off a scrappy, heroic Hiccup vibe from How you can Prepare Your Dragon, together with realizing that not all monsters are what they appear.

Talking of influences, the script initially shopped around as “Zombieland with a John Hughes-esque love story at its center,” leads Joel to Michael Rooker’s knowledgeable hunter Clyde, who each appears to be like like and sometimes produces the fed up side-eyes of Woody Harrelson, aka zombie torturer Tallahassee in Zombieland.

He even lists his guidelines or “classes” for survival: “Lesson 10: Hold your socks dry.” His sidekick Minnow, performed by a recreation Ariana Greenblatt, is part-Wichita, part-Hit Lady from Kick-Ass. Elsewhere, The Strolling Lifeless makes a cameo within the humans-can-be-threats-too part.

The entire journey looks like driving a rusted-down automotive, jerking ahead, then halting as you repair it up with any shiny components you see mendacity round. Joel even reunites with MAV1S, an artificially clever robotic buddy on her final battery juice, seemingly for no cause apart from to cost his radio and add one other pop track to the soundtrack.

Each little bit of Love and Monsters is contrived, however this beast has a candy and durable middle in O’Brien. You will not fall in love with it, nevertheless it will not scare you off both.

Love and Monsters arrives on digital platforms like Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNow, Google Play and extra on Oct. 16.

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Jennifer Bisset