Love and Monsters (aKa Monster Problems) is a 2020 monster adventure film directed by Michael Matthews (Five Fingers for Marseilles, Sweetheart, & Wide Open). It was first developed in 2012. It was written by Brian Duffield (The Babysitter, Underwater, Jane Got a Gun, & The Divergent Series: Insurgent) & Matthew Robinson (The Invention of Lying, Monster Trucks, Live Die Repeat and Repeat, & Little Shop of Horrors). It was produced by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum franchise, Date Night, Stranger Things, Unsolved Mysteries, Fist Fight, The Internship, & Arrival). It was originally supposed to have a major theatrical release but it got cancelled due to Covid-19. It was released direct to video on demand plus it got a limited theatrical release in October which grossed $1.1 million at the box office which didn’t come close to it’s original $30 million budget.
After the destruction of an asteroid headed for Earth, the chemical fallout causes all cold-blooded animals to mutate into large monsters. During the evacuation of Fairfield, Joel Dawson (played by: Dylan O’Brien from Teen Wolf, The Maze Runner franchise, Bumblebee, & Deepwater Horizon) is separated from his girlfriend Aimee (played by: Jessica Henwick from The Matrix 4, Godzilla vs. Kong, Underwater, & Game of Thrones) but promises to find her & his parents are killed during all the chaos. Seven years later, Joel lives in one of many underground bunkers called “colonies”, where other survivors except for him, have romantically paired up with each other while fighting monsters plus scavenging for supplies. Joel instead is left behind in the kitchen, as he is notorious for freezing in dangerous situations. Joel sets off on a quest to reunite with Aimee so that he doesn’t end up alone. Joel is attacked by a giant toad-monster but is saved by a stray dog named “Boy”. Joel runs into other two survivors, Clyde Dutton (played by: Michael Rooker from The Walking Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy 1/2. Mallrats, & Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) & Minnow (played by: Ariana Greenblatt from Avengers: Infinity War, Scoob!, & Stuck in the Middle). They are heading north to the mountains. They teach Joel some basic survival skills. Joel leaves after awhile because he must find Aimee. Joel concurs his freezing problem when he saves Boy from a giant centipede-monster. Sheltering in an abandoned motel, they meet a robot named Mav1s (played by: Melanie Zanetti from Bluey). Before her battery dies, Mav1s powers his radio long enough to briefly contact Aimee, where he learns that new survivors have reached her colony & they are promising to lead them away to safety. Joel gets into a fight with boy & ends up alone again. He wakes to finally see Aimee after a rough day. Joel is introduced to the new survivors Cap (played by: Dan Ewing from Superman Returns, Dead Meat, Power Rangers R.P.M., & Home and Away) & his crew. Joel questions his decision to find Aimee after seeing her again & something doesn’t feel right. Who can his trust now????
I wasn’t expecting much here, I thought maybe I would get a fun little monster flick with some comedy mixed in. It has all of that but it’s much more than that. Love and Monsters was the biggest surprise of 2020, it came out of nowhere & it’s easily one of my favorites from last year. It’s kinda like Mad Max for teens with a John Hughes vibe to it plus some Godzilla monsters to finish it out. Yeah, that sounds very random but this feature has a little bit of everything in it. It has a great balance of drama, action, comedy, romance, suspense, & a dash of horror with some all the creatures in this. It’s takes the action & monster sub-genres to something different than what we usually see from them. The script is fantastic & there’s not a bad performance here, that really tells you something about it’s sharp dialogue. It has some cool references & it has so much heart to it. Joel has amazing chemistry with everyone he gets around which includes his original group, Aimee, Boy, & the other survivors. Dylan O’Brien gives a brave performance here, his character risks everything for love. I loved his relationship with Boy, that dog was my favorite character here. It was great to see Michael Rooker in this, he makes everything better. Jessica Henwick was much different here than her Game of Thrones character that I mainly know her for. It was nice to see do something completely different. She has some big projects lined up next year. Most of the cast here were smaller or just character actors but everyone was unique in their roles in Love and Monsters. The special & visual fx were amazing, some of the best fx work when it comes to 2020 cinema. It has a crazy variety of monsters & creatures, each one was very different. Lots of action in this, more than you would think from a movie with love in the title. The replay value is strong on Love and Monsters & I really hope they do a sequel to it despite it bombing at the box office. This deserves to be on every top 10 list when it comes to 2020, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Paramount Pictures! This 2160p (2.39:1) transfer with Dolby Vision & HDR10 is damn perfect. Visually, it’s one of highlights for 2020 & the fx really shine here. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is reference quality & one of the best sounding 4ks from 2020. The action roars through your speakers on your home set up. It feels like being in the theaters, all the monster chaos here has a killer boost to it. All of the dialogue is crystal clear & the music is elevated. It also has English, English SDH, & Spanish subtitles. Let’s discuss the special features from Paramount Pictures! There’s no extras on the UHD, they are all located on the blu ray. It has almost 12 minutes of “Deleted Scenes” which includes Hopeless Romantic; Without Love, What’s the Point?; Car Critter; Good Luck Charm; You Guys Are Safe Now, & Back at the Bunker. “Bottom of the Food Chain: The Cast of Love and Monsters” is almost 8 minutes. It has interviews with director Michael Matthews, actors Jessica Henwick, Dylan O’Brien, Michael Rooker, Ariana Greenblatt, Dan Ewing, & various members of the production. They chat about the story, characters, & concept. Boy was played by two different dogs. It has behind the scenes footage. “It’s a Monster’s World: Creating a Post-Apocalyptic Landscape” is a little over 7 minutes. It has interviews with executive producer John Starke, supervising location manager Duncan Jones, director Michael Matthews, director of photography Lachlan Milne, head of creature FX Steven Boyle, production designer Dan Hennah, & actress Jessica Henwick. It goes over the various shooting locations in Australia. It highlights beautiful cinematography in this. They chat about the production design. They show the different bunkers, weapons, supplies, & stuff from the monsters. It also comes with a slipcover, a digital code, & a blu ray copy. This is a must own & it needs to be added to your collection ASAP. It’s available this Tuesday everywhere, CHECK IT OUT!!!!