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SYFY WIRE Dylan O'Brien

Love and Monsters is really a love story about a boy (Dylan O'Brien) and his (perfect) dog

By Caitlin Busch

The real world is bad, but, at the very least, we’re not fighting off mutant bug monsters in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Dylan O’Brien’s (Teen Wolf, The Maze Runner) Joel Dawson isn’t so lucky in the upcoming horror-comedy Love and Monsters, which focuses on Joel’s run-ins with the dangers and offbeat characters of this frightening, monster-infested new world as he journeys to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, Aimee, played by Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist, Game of Thrones).

Love and Monsters — part action-adventure, part coming-of-age story, part wide-eyed teen romance, with a small dose of found-family love — is certainly different from the majority of other films in its class. It’s more earnest than Zombieland, but less focused on a quirky love story than, say, Warm Bodies.

“It almost played like a Pixar script,” O’Brien told SYFY WIRE of his first impressions of the film. The elevator pitch, as he puts it, is “a story about a boy and a dog in a monster apocalypse” that’s as much a “colorful and weird world” as it is a homage to classic genre adventures.

“I grew up loving Back to the Future and Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park,” director Michael Matthews explains. “I felt like this, in a way, was doing that in a newer form. There was something about simplicity. It's not that overly complex of a movie and… it's really got more of an old adventure feel to it, which you don't see much these days.

“Or if you do, it's normally like a team of five people on some sort of mission,” he continues. “So, there was something about that where it's this guy, and then he finds a dog, and he's just doing the best he can and trying to get through this world. And it's an actual journey and adventure.”

“It was just such a cute script, and it's original, which is very rare,” Henwick muses. “But I loved the blend of comedy and adventure and drama and romance. It was just so different from anything else that I was reading that I couldn't help but be intrigued... A guy and his dog go off on this quest. It's so cute.”

It’s really due to that “boy and his dog” narrative that the film feels so much like a live-action cartoon. Or, rather, given that the dog’s name is “Boy,” it’s a “boy and his Joel” narrative. O’Brien’s comparison to Pixar — wholesome, emotionally focused, with a clear message of the importance of human connection and love — is undeniably accurate. When the world has gone to hell and you need something to rely on, your friends, family, and trusty dog sidekick are the perfect way to face down the apocalypse.

Learn more about Love and Monsters and all things monster post-apocalypse on SYFY WIRE leading up to the film’s premiere on Oct. 16.