By Daniel Occelli
“Good instincts are earned by mistakes.”
Michael Matthews second feature comes with a YA love story we’ve seen a thousand times, but executed with care and glee.
Love and Monsters is the perfect example of tropes done right. Make no mistake, this movie has all the tropes an apocalypse film can have, but it never feels like a cop-out, it never feels like they took the easy way out, they just took the blueprint of what an apocalypse film is supposed to be and they nailed almost every bit.
Starring Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker and child actress Ariana Greenblatt, the film takes us on a trip with Joel, a scared young man that no one believes has what it takes to survive the Monster apocalypse until he decides to take a dangerous journey across monster infested California in order to re-connect with the love of his life.
One of the main reasons this film works are the performances, Dylan O’Brien is charismatic in every scene he’s in, a character that could’ve been easily annoying works every time because of Dylan’s acting and his chemistry with every character he meets along the way.
The film also has a smart introduction, a good pace, amazing monster designs and entertaining action sequences. It works around its budget brilliantly and knows exactly how to enter every scene and how to move on from it. This can be scene when he meets Mav1s the robot. The director shows he can convey real emotion, set up character growth and evolution and manage its pace, its simple scenes like this that make the film excel against others of the genre.
What doesn’t work? I would say the third act stumbles on its pace, it’s here when the film starts showing its tropes without being as careful as it first was and the ending feels too corny for its own good.
But I can forgive this flaws when I was so entertained for the first hour of the film, I like the characters enough to go through this weaker ending and still want to see a second installment. I hope that, if they ever do it, they remain as careful as they were here and don’t try to do too much with a bigger budget, or a more complicated story. This film works because it’s simple and it understands fun. And also because of Boy the dog.
I had a lot of fun with this film and I would recommend you go watch it!!