Love and Monsters (film)

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Love and Monsters
LoveAndMonstersPoster.jpeg
Official release poster
Directed byMichael Matthews
Screenplay by
Story byBrian Duffield
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyLachlan Milne
Edited by
Music by
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • October 16, 2020 (2020-10-16)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$30 million[3]
Box office$1.1 million[4]

Love and Monsters is a 2020 American monster adventure film directed by Michael Matthews, with Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen serving as producers. The film stars Dylan O'Brien, Jessica Henwick, Dan Ewing, Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt.

Development began in 2012 as Monster Problems, the project lingered for several years until in October 2018, O'Brien and then Matthews joined the film. The rest of the cast joined over the next few months, and filming took place in Australia from March to May 2019.

Love and Monsters was originally going to receive a wide theatrical release by Paramount Pictures in February 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the studio opted to release the film digitally via video on demand, and in select theatres, on October 16, 2020. The film received generally positive reviews from critics. At the 93rd Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Visual Effects, but lost to Tenet.[5]

Plot[edit]

The destruction of an asteroid headed for Earth releases chemical fallout, causing cold-blooded animals to mutate into large monsters and kill off most of humanity. During the evacuation of Fairfield, Joel Dawson is separated from his girlfriend Aimee but promises to find her, shortly before his parents are killed.

Seven years later, Joel lives in one of many bunkers underground called "colonies", where all survivors but he have romantically paired up with each other while fighting monsters and seeking supplies. Joel instead is left behind in the kitchen, as he freezes in dangerous situations. When a giant ant breaches his colony, killing Connor, Joel sets off on a quest to reunite with Aimee so he doesn't end up alone.

Passing through the suburbs, Joel is attacked by a giant toad-monster but is saved by a stray dog named "Boy", who follows Joel on his journey, warning him against poisonous berries and other dangers. Joel falls into a nest of worm-monsters called "Sand-Gobblers", when two survivors, Clyde Dutton and Minnow, rescue him. They are heading north to the mountains, where fewer monsters live due to the colder weather and higher elevation. They teach Joel some basic survival skills, and that not all monsters are hostile, demonstrating how "You can always tell in their eyes". They invite Joel to stay with them, but he insists he must find Aimee. As they part ways, Clyde gives Joel a grenade.

Continuing west, Boy becomes trapped by a giant centipede-monster. Joel freezes, but eventually saves Boy with his crossbow. Sheltering in an abandoned motel, they meet a robot named Mav1s. Before her battery dies, Mav1s powers his radio long enough to briefly contact Aimee. Other survivors have reached her colony, promising to lead them to safety. The next day Joel and Boy are attacked by a Queen Sand-Gobbler. They hide, but Boy barks, giving away their position. Joel kills the Queen with the grenade. He yells at Boy for putting them in danger, causing Boy to run away. After swimming across a pond, Joel is covered in poisonous leeches and hallucinates, but is rescued before he collapses.

Joel wakes to finally see Aimee. She leads a beach colony of elderly survivors who depend on her. He is introduced to the survivors, Cap, and his crew. As everyone celebrates their imminent departure, Aimee confesses she is glad to see Joel, but has become a different person and is still mourning someone. Joel decides to return to his colony, contacting them on the radio and learning that it has become unsafe and that they too must leave. Cap sends Joel some berries, which he recognizes as poisonous. Realizing Cap is not to be trusted, he rushes to warn Aimee but is knocked unconscious.

Joel, Aimee, and the rest of her colony awaken tied-up on the beach. Cap reveals that his group is there to steal supplies and that their yacht is towed by a crab-monster controlled with an electrified chain. Cap sets the crab to feed on the colonists, but Joel and Aimee escape and are able to fight for their lives, and Boy returns to help. Joel has the opportunity to kill the crab, but he realizes it is not hostile by looking into its eyes, and shoots the electrified chain, freeing it. The crab leaves Joel unharmed and instead kills Cap and his crew, sinking the yacht in the process.

Joel recommends Aimee and her colony head north. They share a romantic goodbye kiss, and Aimee promises she will find him. Joel treks all the way back to his colony, and they too decide to head to the mountains. On the radio, Joel inspires other colonies to take to the surface. As everyone heads north, Clyde and Minnow, already in the mountains, wonder if Joel will survive the next journey.

Cast[edit]

  • Dylan O'Brien as Joel Dawson, a survivor from Fairfield, California.
  • Hero and Dodge as Boy, the dog.
  • Jessica Henwick as Aimee, Joel's girlfriend from before the apocalypse
  • Michael Rooker as Clyde Dutton, a survival expert
  • Dan Ewing as Cap
  • Ariana Greenblatt as Minnow, a survival expert
  • Ellen Hollman as Dana, an associate of Cap
  • Tre Hale as Rocko, an associate of Cap
  • Pacharo Mzembe as Ray, a member of Joel's colony
  • Senie Priti as Karen, a member of Joel's colony
  • Amali Golden as Ava, a member of Joel's colony
  • Te Kohe Tuhaka as Tim, a member of Joel's colony
  • Tasneem Roc as Anna Lucia
  • Thomas Campbell as Anderson
  • Melanie Zanetti as Kala, and also the voice of Mav1s (Mavis), a robot
  • Bruce Spence as "Old Pete"
  • Hazel Phillips as Janice
  • Donnie Baxter as Parker
  • Andrew Buchanan as Joel's father
  • Tandi Wright as Joel's Mother

Production[edit]

In June 2012, it was announced that Paramount Pictures was developing the film Monster Problems, with Shawn Levy producing, based on a spec script by Brian Duffield. It was described as a post-apocalyptic road movie in the vein of Mad Max and Zombieland with a John Hughes-esque love story.[6]

In October 2018, it was announced that Dylan O'Brien was in talks to star, and that Michael Matthews was directing the film.[7] By March 2019, Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt had joined O'Brien.[8][9] In April 2019, it was announced that Jessica Henwick had joined the cast.[10] Also in April, Australian actor Dan Ewing joined the film in a supporting role.[11] Principal photography started on the Gold Coast on March 25, 2019, and ended in May 2019.[12][13]

Producer Shawn Levy said the film "benefited immensely" from the work of cinematographer Lachlan Milne, with whom he had previous worked on Stranger Things.[14] Stunts were coordinated by Glenn Suter who had worked with O'Brien when he returned to complete the third Maze Runner film, after having experienced a serious accident during a stunt.[15] The stunts were a challenge for Henwick because she had to work to look less competent, despite years of training for the Marvel television shows.[16] The dogs were trained by Zelie Bullen, the main dog was called Hero, and his double was called Dodge.[15][17]

The visual effects for the film were completed and managed by Mill Film Adelaide, in collaboration with MPC Bangalore and MPC LA.[18]

Release[edit]

The film was originally slated to release on March 6, 2020, but in October 2019, the release date was moved to April 17, 2020.[19] In February 2020, it was pushed back again, to February 12, 2021.[20]

In August 2020, Paramount announced that due to COVID-19 pandemic the film would be released via video on demand on October 16, 2020. The film's title was changed from Monster Problems to Love and Monsters.[21] The film also played in 387 theaters for the weekend of October 16–18, 2020.[22] Netflix released the film on their service outside the US on April 14, 2021.[2][23]

Reception[edit]

Box office and VOD[edit]

In its debut weekend, Love and Monsters was the number one most rented film on FandangoNow and Apple TV.[3] The film also played in 387 theaters alongside its VOD release, and grossed $255,000 in its opening weekend.[24] In its second weekend, the film finished second at Apple TV, third at Fandango, and eighth at Spectrum,[25] then placed second at Spectrum, fifth at Fandango, and seventh at Google in its third weekend.[26]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 94% based on 108 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Led by a charming star turn from Dylan O'Brien, Love and Monsters peers into the apocalypse and finds an action-adventure with surprising emotional depth."[27] On Metacritic it has a weighted average score of 63 out of 100, based on reviews from 14 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[28]

Jessica Kiang of Variety called it: "A fun if forgettable family-friendly adventure comedy set in a 'monsterpocalypse'" and a "silly but satisfying hero's journey entirely unencumbered by importance." Kiang notes that the film is based on an original script but feels familiar as if it was adapted from existing material because it fits into the coming-of-age genre and references various other films such as I Am Legend, A Boy and His Dog, Zombieland, Tremors and Stand by Me.[29] John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "The movie's last act offers complications both expected and surprising. For the most part, it satisfies, especially in what proves to be the pic's most elaborate action sequence."[30] Indiewire's David Ehrlich wrote: "Love and Monsters is the rarest kind of movie these days: A fun, imaginative, genre-mashing adventure that was made with a modest amount of big studio money."[31]

Accolades[edit]

The film was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Visual Effects category, but lost to Tenet.[5] It was also nominated at the Critics' Choice Super Awards in the Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie category.[32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dylan O'Brien's Monster Problems, Clifford Backed by Paramount, eOne". Variety. June 20, 2019. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Taylor, Melissa (March 18, 2021). "'Love and Monsters' Coming to Netflix Internationally in April 2021". What's on Netflix. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Brueggemann, Tom (October 19, 2020). "Paramount Takes 'Love and Monsters' to PVOD and It's a Hit". IndieWire. Archived from the original on October 22, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  4. ^ "Love and Monsters (2020)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Cohn, Gabe (March 15, 2021). "2021 Oscars Nominees List". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Kit, Borys (June 15, 2012). "Paramount Developing Post-Apocalyptic Road Movie with Shawn Levy (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 5, 2020. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  7. ^ Kit, Borys (October 22, 2018). "Dylan O'Brien in Talks to Star in 'Monster Problems' for Paramount Players". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 30, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  8. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 20, 2019). "Michael Rooker Set To Star In Monster Problems For Paramount Players". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  9. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 22, 2019). "Ariana Greenblatt Joins Dylan O'Brien In Paramount Players' Monster Problems". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 17, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  10. ^ Kit, Borys (April 1, 2019). "'Iron Fist' Actress Jessica Henwick Joins Dylan O'Brien in 'Monster Problems' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 3, 2019. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  11. ^ Sneider, Jeff (April 11, 2019). "Exclusive: 'Home and Away' Star Dan Ewing Joins Dylan O'Brien in Monster Problems". Collider. Archived from the original on August 5, 2020. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
  12. ^ "QUEENSLAND'S GOT MONSTER PROBLEMS". AusFilm.com. Archived from the original on March 8, 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  13. ^ "Monster Problems to be filmed in Queensland". Mumbrella. February 10, 2019. Archived from the original on August 21, 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  14. ^ Deckelmeier, Joe (October 26, 2020). "Shawn Levy Interview: Love and Monsters". ScreenRant.
  15. ^ a b Davids, Brian (October 16, 2020). "Dylan O'Brien on 'Love and Monsters' and His Viral 'The Social Network' Video with Sarah Ramos". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  16. ^ Davids, Brian (October 15, 2020). "Jessica Henwick on 'Love and Monsters,' 'The Matrix 4' and Pitching 'Jess Wick' to Keanu Reeves". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  17. ^ Menta, Anna (October 16, 2020). "'Love and Monsters' Director Says Dylan O'Brien Was Distracted Playing With The Movie's Dog". Decider. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  18. ^ "Love and Monsters". Cinefex. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  19. ^ Pendersen, Erik (October 23, 2019). "Monster Problems: Paramount Moves Dylan O'Brien Pic To Pre-Summer Slot". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 17, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  20. ^ "Controversial Gang Saga 'Blue Story' Release Date Moved By Paramount". Deadline Hollywood. February 15, 2020. Archived from the original on September 16, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  21. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 20, 2020). "Dylan O'Brien Paramount Love And Monsters Movie Heading To PVOD". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 11, 2020. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  22. ^ Fuster, Jeremy (October 18, 2020). "Liam Neeson's 'Honest Thief' Opens to $3.7 Million as 'Tenet' Crosses $50 Million at Box Office". TheWrap. Archived from the original on October 19, 2020. Retrieved October 18, 2020. Paramount released the romantic creature feature "Love and Monsters" day-and-date on both PVOD and in 387 theaters, grossing $255,000.
  23. ^ "Love and Monsters coming to Netflix on 14 April". Cinemania. March 17, 2021.
  24. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 18, 2020). "Liam Neeson Action Pic 'Honest Thief' Nabbing $4M+ Total By Sunday; 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' Awakens – Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 19, 2020. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  25. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (October 26, 2020). "'After We Collided' Is a Smash with Small Pricetag, While 'Unhinged' Makes Its PVOD Debut". IndieWire. Archived from the original on October 31, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  26. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (November 2, 2020). "Netflix's 'Holidate' and VOD 'After We Collided' Thrive as Romance Beats Horror Over Halloween". IndieWire. Archived from the original on November 2, 2020. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  27. ^ "Love and Monsters (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  28. ^ "Love and Monsters Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on October 21, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
  29. ^ Kiang, Jessica (October 14, 2020). "'Love and Monsters' Review: Fun Times During the End Times". Variety. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  30. ^ DeFore, John (October 14, 2020). "'Love and Monsters': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 19, 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  31. ^ Ehrlich, David (October 16, 2020). "'Love and Monsters' Review: Dylan O'Brien Leads a Fun and Imaginative Post-Apocalyptic Romp". IndieWire. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  32. ^ Kit, Borys (November 19, 2020). "Palm Springs,' 'Lovecraft Country' Lead Nominations for Inaugural Critics Choice Super Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 1, 2021.

External links[edit]