Seven Days to Heaven

Near the end of every romantic comedy, the guy regrets the break-up that happened a few minutes prior, and then runs back to the girl. Love and Monsters is that same cliché – for 80+ minutes.

Love and Monsters is awesome for it.

Given a quiet release mid-pandemic, Love and Monsters centers on a human need to connect. By chance, this story fits to this moment, imagining a world besieged by mutant giant monsters, people clustered in small camps as to negate their risk, and Joel (Dylan O’Brien) stepping out to explore what’s left of this world. Joel’s only cause is to reunite with his pre-disaster girlfriend. Minus the visible creatures and played up for laughs, Love and Monsters nails 2020’s vibes.

Minus the visible creatures and played up for laughs, Love and Monsters nails 2020’s vibes

Joel’s perfect. Not unpredictable, even archetypal, but a terrified, geeky kid willing to risk everything to find himself as much as his girl. Appropriate sarcasm and comic morbidity lessen the terror, syncing the kooky critters to a masterful tonality. Wacky enough, but no so much so as to lose those dramatic, emotional moments.

There is a villain… eventually. Tiresome apocalyptic survival stories need lots of bad guys, typically. In Love and Monsters’ world though, almost everyone is kind. Joel is practically dead weight to his outpost, yet they support and care for him. Meeting two strangers on his travels, they instantly connect and help. Instead of cannibalistic, crazed survivalists, this story sees people differently: in times of shared grief, we will, ultimately, bond together for the betterment of each other. In this case, anguish and loss, then reconciliation. Again, 2020, but a hopeful future vision instead of cynicism.

Between those revelations, Love and Monsters pays homage to Ray Harryhausen, nature-run-amok horror flicks, and other genre quirks; it’s not a movie hiding from itself. Yet, Love and Monsters doesn’t stick to those cliches. Rather, there’s a reliance on theme and how empathy means protecting more than ourselves. A rocket launch blows up an asteroid to set this tale in motion, and Joel realizes at the end that more explosions will only cause greater suffering.

The “love” in the title references the central relationship – except it doesn’t in the end. The term carries broader implications, as if this entire movie were written by a ‘60s-era hippie preaching about love solving the world’s problems. Except here, it comes in the form of a sci-fi monster romantic action comedy. That’s creative.

Video

Once out into the wild, the 2K upscaled imagery begins flexing itself. Sunlight is a constant, pushing contrast to invigorate this disc. Great Dolby Vision work makes the most of things, doing well to produce range and high peak brightness. Black levels do okay for themselves too. Nothing memorable, but sufficient in depth and keen on avoiding crush.

Love and Monsters uses a lot of scenic views, almost all of them helped by digital effects. That’s where the resolution takes a little out of things, unable to define the complexity. A bit of muddiness aside, overall fidelity fares well, defined enough to keep steady texture flowing. Facial detail runs high. Monsters look great too, from a warty frog to later, a seaweed-covered crab.

Typically noise free, Paramount’s disc transfers things perfectly. A slight rise during flashbacks turns a bit noisy, but barely perceptible. Brighter colors challenge the compression, but it holds out. Saturated greenery is a constant given the post-apocalypse overgrowth. Spot on flesh tones play nicely with other primaries. Pleasing stuff.

Audio

DTS-HD 7.1, and while easily a stunner, Love and Monsters offers numerous chances for an Atmos/DTS:X track. Why one isn’t included is unknown, and a shame.

Powerful low-end brings bulk to the monster action. Growls and roars cause intense vibrations, room shaking in any action scene. Tight bass doesn’t skimp on range. Explosions do their thing, bringing the track additional power. Love and Monsters makes for a great reference point.

Equally sensational, surrounds and stereos pick up the smallest details. In training, Joel fires a crossbow, the ammo tracking between speakers, the impact dead on accurate. During creature brawls, their sliminess finds room in each channel as they wander. A tongue from a big frog runs front to back, left to right, even diagonally.

Extras

Nothing on the UHD. Pop in the Blu-ray, starting with six deleted scenes, combined for nearly 12-minutes total. A cast-focused EPK makes it past seven minutes, and includes some behind-the-scenes footage. Then, a look at Love and Monsters’ design takes up another seven minutes.

That’s it. All of it.

Love and Monsters
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

Joel’s comic mishaps throughout Love and Monsters prove wildly entertaining, but it’s the central theme that makes this genre mashup work.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 63 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: