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Love and Monsters Movie Review - Sci-Fi Family Adventure

Live-Action adventure with humor isn’t too unique but fun!

Reviewed by on Oct 14, 2020
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld got an early screener for Paramount’s Love and Monsters, a sci-fi actioner going to VOD. Will it hold your interest? Will you root for the heroes? Check out our movie review.



In Love and Monsters, it’s seven years after the” Monsterpocalypse” in which the chemicals in rockets we used to break up a meteor headed for earth, turned all cold-blooded creatures into giant, man-eating monsters. Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien), along with the rest of humanity, has been living underground in colonies ever since. The only single guy in his colony, Joel reconnects over ham radio with his high school girl Aimee (Jessica Henwick), now 85 miles away in another colony. Joel, not the bravest survivor, sets out alone over the dangerous surface to find her.

Aimee and Joel (Dylan O'Brien) seven years agoAimee and Joel seven years agoCourtesy of Paramount Pictures


Joel Dawson, 23, has been living in an underground bunker with other survivors for seven years ever since, as he explains, a bunch of rockets were launched into space to break up a big meteor headed for Earth. The chemicals released fell back down into our atmosphere and turned all cold-blooded creatures into man-eating, giant monsters. A big moth already ate the President. Now Mankind lives in various, mostly underground colonies. Joel loves his fellow survivors but they all seem to be bravely fighting the monsters that break in while he freezes in place. He operates the ham radio, makes the meals and sketches the many different monsters. He feels that is all he is good for.

Joel (Dylan O'Brien) has to improve his crossbow skillsJoel has to improve his crossbow skillsCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Single and Lonely

Seems everyone in the bunker is hooked up but Joel. He reconnects via radio with his high school girlfriend Aimee who runs a seaside colony 85 miles away. When he freezes during a monster attack, everyone tells him he’s just not a fighter. Thinking back seven years, Joel remembers when he was happy in the summer with Aimee who appreciated his funny drawings. When the military started bombing their town to kill the monsters, everyone had to evacuate. He and Aimee had to leave with their families. He swore he’d find her. When the radio goes dead while he is talking to Aimee, he worries and decides to arm up, take the radio and go to her colony. It will take seven days and nobody thinks he will make it.

Joel and Boy face dangers on the roadJoel and Boy face dangers on the roadCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

On the Surface

Using a hand-drawn map the colonists give him, Joel heads west to the ocean. After a dog saves him from almost being eaten by a giant frog-like monster, Joel spends time with his new canine friend who is called “Boy”. Boy carries a small dress that obviously used to belong to his now gone young owner. Joel and Boy leave together but Joel falls into an old well and is almost grabbed by more creatures. He is rescued by a man named Clyde (Michael Rooker) and his tween pal Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt). Her dad and his son were killed so they teamed up. Bound for a more safe mountain colony, the two will take Joel on until they split off. They realize he is an awfully weak survivor. No skills.

Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt) and Clyde rescue JoelMinnow and Clyde rescue JoelCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

The “Rules”

As they travel, Joel learns more skill with his crossbow and learns Clyde’s rules. Stop to eat or sleep, can’t do both and don’t take shortcuts, also some monsters are not going to hurt you. You can see it in their eyes. Joel makes notes in his monster sketch book. They finally split up. Minnow cries. She loves dog Boy and even Joel. With 30 miles to go, he’s on his own through a weird campground where Boy is in danger from a huge underground monster. At first Joel freezes but saves the dog and himself with a good kill shot to the critter, his first! In the rain they find a friendly working female robot called Mavis who shows Joel pictures of his family before her power runs out.  He remembers that he couldn’t save his mom and dad and has felt guilty ever since.

Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt) doesn't want Joel to leave herMinnow doesn't want Joel to leave herCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Finding Aimee

Joel finally reaches Aimee on the radio. She says a new group of survivors has found them and her colony might be leaving with them. Then she cuts out. After more monster encounters, one in which Boy almost gets them killed, Joel yells at the dog who runs away. Joel ends up in the water and is covered with toxic big leeches that almost kill him. He is found by Aimee who takes him back to her colony. A yacht captain called Cap (Dan Ewing) and his crew of two has found them and will take all, mostly older people, to sea where it’s supposed to be safer. Everyone is packing to leave. Aimee hasn’t been as enthusiastic to see Joel as he hoped. They talk.

Joel (Dylan O'Brien) finds Aimee at her seaside colonyJoel finds Aimee at her seaside colonyCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Not the Same

Aimee still cares for Joel but she has changed. Last year she lost a boyfriend to the monsters. He realizes she moved on while he stayed the same. She still wants him to go with her colony. They will now mostly live on the water. Joel realizes he has changed too. He wants to stay on land and fight the creatures. He contacts his colony but nobody answer so he’s worried. He reads the notes they left on the back of his map wishing him luck and love. He reaches them on the radio and learns that there have been more monster attacks and they must soon leave.

Joel (Dylan O'Brien) and Boy hide from a huge monsterJoel and Boy hide from a huge monsterCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

What will Joel Do?

Joel begins to suspect Cap isn’t all he seems. Will Joel stay with Aimee’s colony or go back to his? Will Boy come back? Will more adventures test Joel’s new skills? Can humans survive on the surface?

Will Joel, Clyde and Minnow end up together?Will Joel, Clyde and Minnow end up together?Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Wrapping Up

Although the set-up of Love and Monsters is very similar to that of the popular Zombieland (a nerdy hero narrating and learning “rules”, teaming up with a more macho older guy while traveling through a bizarre apocalypse) and also the animated “The Last Kids on Earth” this film does present a few new challenges. You keep hoping the adorable dog doesn’t die (he doesn’t) and, although the first 2/3rds is a bit predictable and repetitive, the last act comes through with a couple of nice twists.

Joel has to keep Boy from barkingJoel has to keep Boy from barkingCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

The Joel character, charmingly played by Dylan O’Brien of TV’s “TeenWolf” and the Maze Runner movies, grows up a lot and gets through some emotional hurdles through the film and that makes us root for him. Michael Rooker of “The Walking Dead” and Guardians of the Galaxy works great as kind of macho Clyde but the character is almost a carbon copy of Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee in Zombieland.  Arianna Greenblatt is good as his sidekick young Minnow. Most of the CG monsters are creepy but some are kind of… cute in a slimy way.

This time the hero doesn’t really get the girl….. or does he? There are inspiring messages floating around and the action and a few comedic and touching moments can appeal to everyone in the family.  Yes, there are some closely “borrowed” elements from other films or TV but I was entertained. We can award three stars. If we gave half stars, it would be three and a half.

Love and Monsters Movie Rating: 3

Love and Monsters Movie PosterCourtesy of Paramount Pictures

Love and Monsters will be available to rent and view on Demand starting Oct. 16th for 48 hours and for early digital purchase.

Could You Survive?

How do you think you would do in a monster-riddled world? Do you have survival skills? What skills would be the most important? What if there were giant ants, leeches and other creepy crawlies? Give everyone your take here and/or on your profile page!