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

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


Submit-apocalyptic films are massive proper now. Whereas we look forward to A Quiet Place Part II to land in April subsequent 12 months, Love and Monsters gives the same premise, set in a destroyed world overrun by creatures with a style for human flesh.

However there’s sweetness to go along 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 may 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 shortly 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 comprehend chemical compounds would then rain down on us and mutate creepy bugs and warty amphibians into lower than incredible beasts.

However that is previous information: Now Joel’s residing in an underground bunker in one in every of humanity’s final colonies. Not like his friends, he is the one one who hasn’t shacked up with, properly, 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 abilities she’s recognized for. However wringing a character out of her paper-thin Love Curiosity materials is a troublesome 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 purple gown his beloved proprietor left behind, we go all Hunt for the Wilderpeople, with a number of the greatest, most heartfelt human-animal friendship objectives scenes.

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


Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt as Clyde and Minnow.


Initially, it is laborious 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 Methods to 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 professional hunter Clyde, who each seems 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: Preserve your socks dry.” His sidekick Minnow, performed by a sport Ariana Greenblatt, is part-Wichita, part-Hit Lady from Kick-Ass. Elsewhere, The Strolling Useless makes a cameo within the humans-can-be-threats-too part.

The entire journey seems like driving a rusted-down automotive, jerking ahead, then halting as you repair it up with any shiny elements you notice mendacity round. Joel even reunites with MAV1S, an artificially clever robotic pal 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