Love and Monsters review: More than the usual dystopian drudgery

Dir: Michael Matthews. Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Dan Ewing, Ariana Greenblatt, Michael Rooker. 12, 109 mins

Love and Monsters, a post-apocalyptic romp that plays it both sweet and silly, makes the best of its lead, Dylan O’Brien. The actor’s amassed a legion of fans thanks to his charismatic work in the teen-centric Maze Runner films and Teen Wolf TV series, and he’s been able capitalise on his own image here without selling short his talent. This certainly isn’t some dry, misery-inducing role that demands he play dramatically against type – the kind that left Marvel star Tom Holland floundering in the middle of Devil All the Time and Cherry.

In Love and Monsters, O’Brien plays Joe Dawson, one of the 5 per cent of Earth’s population that wasn’t wiped out by the giant bugs, toads, and crustaceans that now reign supreme. As part of the effort to stop a giant asteroid, humanity launches all of its rockets into air. Chemicals rain back down, turning every cold-blooded animal into over-sized mutant. In the resulting chaos, a 17-year-old Joe loses his parents and becomes separated from his girlfriend, Aimee (Jessica Henwick). We find him seven years later, in the awkward position of being the only singleton in his underground bunker, and with no discernible skills apart from the ability to make a mean minestrone.

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