Love and Monsters, like so many stories that involve the second of those two things, is an allegory. On the surface it is about people living on Earth after a meteor strike, which combined with the world’s attempt to save itself, has resulted in all insect life mutating into giant rampaging beasts. After some time, one twenty something guy, contrary to his normal fearful character, decides to leave his bunker community and travel the eighty five miles on foot to where his girlfriend is holed up. What ensues is a series of misadventures with massive carnivorous bugs, peppered with meetings with quirky survivalists who have their own ways of dealing with the dramatic switcheroo in the planet’s food chain. It’s not about the monsters though, it isn’t even about the love, it is really about growing up and leaving home.
As a post-apocalypse adventure it is fun, it knows it’s conceit is silly and it leans in to this. It is typical of a lot of Netflix releases with its mid-scope budget, mid-level stars and mid-sized ambition but is is perfectly entertaining for a night in on the sofa or as something to have on in the background while you are doing your homework – which depending on your age is the two things Netflix is there for. When you consider the deeper meaning though (not much deeper but deeper nonetheless) it has a real sweetness that is generally touching.
One time Maze Runner Dylan O’Brian is a charming lead and it is engaging to see him get out there on his own and face the world’s challenges. Jessica Hardwick, erstwhile Sand Snake, is the object of his affection who has considerable agency of her own and together or apart they present fine examples of how inexperienced young people can step up to contribute to the community when circumstances demand it. While we are discussing the women in the film I also need to credit adolescent ally of the one and only Ivan, Ariana Greenblatt who even after appearing as young Gamora in Infinity War has found her best part yet as the gutsy kid who teaches the protagonist to shoot. She definitely drives the plot as without her the hero would have ended up inside some creature’s exoskeleton several times over.
There are better new films to watch online right now but if you want something to view, especially with older kids who want something edgy but aren’t ready for the 15 rated Palm Springs or Promising Young Woman, then check it out.