LOVE + MONSTERS (2020, streaming on Netflix) is a slightly rote but fairly fun and warm take on the apocalypse. In the film, a boy and his dog travel across an America swarming with monsters to see his high school girlfriend living in another bunker. Along the way, he discovers the courage to accept the risks of his new life and live it to the fullest instead of hiding. Nothing mind blowing here, just a couple of hours of good fun. I liked it.
The movie starts seven years after chemicals turn the world’s cold-blooded creatures–insects and amphibians–into giant monsters that eat most of humanity. Joel lives in a bunker with other survivors, only he’s not very useful, as he freezes under stress. He recently rediscovered his high school girlfriend living in another bunker (by short-wave radio), and decides to confront his fears and make the overland journey to see her. Along the way, he has various adventures that lead him to discover the courage not only to confront his fears, but completely let go of the past and live this new dangerous life to the fullest.
LOVE + MONSTERS complements its genre rather than transcends or even leads it, but it’s a solid watch. The cast is very likeable, the pace fairly keeps the story moving, the monsters are great and lead to some solid action sequences, there’s a dog in the film who deserves an Oscar, and the theme is strong and communicated well. Joel comes across as a bit overplayed, but not too much to be truly annoying. The conclusion of his journey surprised me a little with its realistic outcome that directly tied to the theme of starting over. On the downside, it beggared belief he survived the journey, the guy is blessed with a stupendous amount of plot armor even for a Hollywood movie.
Anyway, I liked it enough, it was fun.