Monster Movie Mayhem: Love and Monsters


Tiger Media Network

Normally, when I pick a movie to review, I choose something I’ve already seen, unless it’s a brand new movie… though compared to what I normally review, this is pretty new. I first heard about “Love and Monsters” a while back and bought the DVD around Valentine’s Day because Walmart was doing some DVD display thing for the holiday, so the movie had a neat Valentine’s Day-themed slipcover… I bought this like two years ago and now I’ve finally decided to watch it for Valentine’s Day.

The plot is that a giant meteor was approaching the earth, so the nations of the world decided to create super weapons to blow up the meteor; however, some pieces impacted the planet and led to a refugee crisis for the country of Erusea – wait no, that’s the plot of “Ace Combat 4.” The plot of “Love and Monsters” is that a giant meteor was approaching the earth, so the nations of the world decided to launch a bunch of missiles at it and they managed to successfully destroy the meteor. However, the radiation from the missiles mutated all cold-blooded life on earth, turning them into giant monsters and leading to a monster apocalypse.

Our main man, Joel, got separated from his girlfriend, Aimee, and is now living in a bunker 80 miles away from hers. So he decides to set off on a journey to meet her… The issue is that Joel is an incompetent coward. Still, though, he perseveres and comes across many friends along the way, like a dog, an old guy and a little girl who are experts on the land, a robot, a giant snail, and a lot of monsters that want to eat him. Will he survive?

Joel and his dog, Boy, have to keep quiet to survive.

The concept of a monster apocalypse is an interesting one that I see pop up from time to time, and here I think the world they set up is pretty interesting. The plot of the film itself is a pretty standard journey film; don’t expect a lot of twists and turns here. The climax especially, is pretty predictable, and I’d consider it the weakest part of the film. The rest of it, though is pretty fun, and the film has a lot of great uses of setup and payoff. If something is mentioned, it’ll probably tie into something else later.

The characters are all fairly solid. The main protagonist, Joel can be a little annoying at first, but as the film goes on, he becomes much more confident and respectable. His girlfriend, Aimee, isn’t anything too special, mostly just a goal that the protagonist is going for, but she does get some moments to shine around the end. By far, the best characters are Clyde and Minnow, an old man and a little girl who save Joel from a sandworm pit and travel with him for a bit, showing him some survival tricks. The three of them play off each other well and provide some bits of funny dialogue. There’s also a dog named Boy, who’s a bit cartoonish with the way he understands perfect English and is incredibly smart. Look, I can buy radiation turning animals into monsters, but a smart dog is way out of the realms of possibility.

Joel says his goodbyes to Minnow before continuing to the coast.

Ultimately, the cartoony-ness of the film is its greatest downfall to me. Some aspects just feel a bit too outlandish, but not in a comedic way. The film is played fairly straight for the most part. There are just some parts that feel a bit silly or cliche and can take you out of the film.

When it comes to the monsters, they’re all pretty cool. I like that the film establishes that only cold-blooded animals got mutated, leading to monstrous invertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles filling out the roster of monsters. Some of the designs can feel a bit generic, though, but there are a lot of monsters in this, some shown on screen, others shown in the protagonist’s drawings, which I think helps to make this world feel much bigger. 

The action sequences are generally pretty solid and have some intense moments, but the monsters’ tendency to just stand there and stare at Joel while he builds up confidence can get a little old after a bit. 

When it comes to the effects, they’re okay. This is clearly a low-budget film, and honestly, it reminds me a lot of the film “Monsters” with its use of location shooting, which gets crazy and dynamic CGI showing some part of the world added later, whether it’s a dilapidated town or a mountain that has been turned into an ant colony. So when going into this film, do keep in mind that it’s a bit lower budget, but I do think that the CGI gets the job done.

Promotional image of Joel, Boy, Clyde, and Minnow facing off against the giant centipede.

So yeah, I was pleasantly surprised by “Love and Monsters.” It’s a nice little coming-of-age journey set in a monster apocalypse. The world is interesting, the characters are fun, and the monster stuff is solid. I just wish that the film wasn’t so cartoonish sometimes and that the climax wasn’t so… mediocre. Still, though, it’s a fun movie. I give this film seven “‘Ace Combat references” out of ten!

Connor Keating is a junior at Fort Hays State University, studying digital media and journalism. Connor is an old-school movie fan, particularly Japanese monster movies, and is an avid DVD collector.