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Love and Monsters (UHD + Blu-ray + Digital)

Paramount // PG-13 // January 5, 2021
List Price: $39.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted January 7, 2021 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Directed by Michael Matthews, who co-wrote the screenplay with Brian Duffield, 2020's Love And Monstersis set in a future where the Earth was ravaged by an apocalypse that has destroyed the vast majority of the planet's human population. Making matters worse, the after effects have caused insects and amphibians alike to mutate into massive monsters, the kind that are only too happy to munch away on any surviving humans that they should be so lucky as to come across.

When the President is obliterated by a random moth monster, hordes of people decide to relocate and live underground. One such survivor is Joel (Dylan O'Brien), who lives in an underground bunker with a bunch of others, all of whom have found true love... except for him. He works as the cook and everyone just kind of ignores him, he doesn't stand out much at all and just sort of exists in the background. He's also got a reputation as a coward.

Joel was separated from girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick) back when all of this started. When he eventually manages to contact her via radio, he decides he's going to leave the safety of the bunker and make the seven-day trek by fought through monster-heavy territory to reunite with her. Along the way he befriends a dog, encounters all manner of strange creature and learns about survival from a samurai sword wielding guy named Clyde (Michael Rooker) and a young girl named Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt).

Love And Monsters is an enjoyable mix of action, horror, humor and romance, occasionally pretty tense and frequently pretty funny. It isn't always deep, but it doesn't always need to be, opting instead to be a bit of a crowd pleaser. It is, in short, a popcorn movie that puts entertainment front and center, and there's nothing at all wrong with that. The visuals are pretty strong. Yeah, the movie relies heavily on digital effects and a lot of us, this writer included, are going to wish it had gone the practical route but it's to be expected in 2021. The creature design employed is genuinely cool, with plenty of animal/monster hybrids on display that ensure a series of neat visuals are employed throughout the picture to keep things interesting, even if it is always obvious that these creatures are pixels, rather than anything tangible. But Matthews and company pace the picture well, keeping the one-hundred-and-eight-minute running time nice and briskly, giving the main characters enough character development to make us interested enough in their plight to want to see how it all plays out.

As to the performances, Dylan O'Brien is a good, if never great, lead in the picture. He has a believable enough sad-sack quality to him that suits the part, and it's interesting to watch his character change and evolve as the story moves forward and he finds himself having to fight for love and, in turn, his own survival. Jessica Henwick is just as good, if never great, as the love interest. She's cool looking and charismatic and it's easy to see why the character of Joel would be as hung up as he is on the character of Aimee. Supporting work from Airiana Greenblatt is pretty decent and frequently amusing, while the always fun to watch Michael Rooker steals more than a few scenes as survivalist guy Clyde, a part for which he is very well cast.

There are a few unnecessarily schmaltzy bits and elements of the story that are a bit more predictable than maybe they could and should have been, but overall, this is a pretty entertaining way to kill an hour and forty in front of the TV, and that's good enough reason to want to check it out, particularly if you have an affinity for romance and monsters.



Love And Monsters arrives on 4k UHD/Blu-ray combo pack framed at 2.39.1 widescreen. The HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p transfer features Dolby Vison and HDR10 enhancement and it looks really nice, if maybe a step or two away from 4k reference quality. Detail is generally very strong and there are times where you'll notice it easily surpassing 1080p quality, even while there are times where you might not. Still, there's very impressive depth evident here, and while quality can shift a bit depending on lighting and location, generally the picture is impressive. Skin tones look great, colors are reproduced very nicely indeed and we get strong black levels throughout. Compression artifacts are never an issue and there are no noticeable issues with aliasing or edge enhancement. As this was shot digitally, obviously print damage, grain and related issues are never a concern. All in all, the picture here is quite strong.


The main audio option on the disc is an English language 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, with subtitles are offered in English, English SDH and Spanish. This track is excellent, a really boisterous affair that pulls you right into the action as soon as it starts. There's loads of surround activity here and some seriously powerful bass response to keep that low end rumbling just when you want it to. Dialogue is always clean and always clear and the score sounds positively epic in spots. No complains here at all, this track is killer.


There are no extra features at all on the UHD disc, but this is a combo pack and there are a few on the included Blu-ray disc, starting with twelve-minutes' worth of deleted scenes (Hopeless Romantic, Without Love What's the Point?, Car Critter, Good Luck Charm, You Guys Are Safe Now and Back At The Bunker). Bottom Of The Food Chain: The Cast Of Love and Monsters is an eight-minute featurette that gives a quick overview of the story and then a brief exploration of the main characters and the performers that play them. It's A Monster's World: Creating A Post-Apocalyptic Landscape spends seven-minutes going over what it was like shooting on location in Australia, how they made the locations look post-apocalyptic, and details of the production and set design aspects of the movie.

This release also comes packaged with a slipcase as well as an insert card containing a code for a digital HD downloadable version of the feature.

Final Thoughts:

Love And Monsters is an entertaining enough genre mashup with some nice production values, decent humor and interesting, if entirely digital, monster creations. Paramount's UHD release looks and sounds quite nice, though the extra are light. Still, the feature is fun, breezy entertainment sure to placate viewers with less specific tastes that don't mind a little romance worked in with their mayhem. Recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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