This article contains major spoilers for the Love and Monsters ending.
Love and Monsters was a very pleasant surprise, from its atypical hero in Dylan O’Brien’s Joel Dawson to its imaginative monster designs and its wealth of potential for a sequel or prequel or spin-off. Perhaps that last one is the most important, since the Love and Monsters ending leaves things wide open for a continuation, and this debut outing certainly deserves one.
Much of the film comprises Joel’s quest to be reunited with his girlfriend, Aimee, after seven years spent in the isolation of a hidden bunker where he was basically a lackey for a bunch of alpha survivors. Realizing Amy is closer than he thought, and sick of the bunker becoming a sex den, Joel sets out for a long journey across the dangerous surface to rekindle a lost love.
There are many adventures for Joel before he reaches Aimee, but since we’re dealing with the conclusion here, we’ll pick up from where he arrives at Aimee’s beach colony and meets the performatively perfect yacht captain, Cap (Dan Ewing). Joel’s reaction to this guy is some of the best comedy in the entire film, and it’s obvious that he’s up to something, but what exactly he’s plotting works as a last-minute surprise alongside several emotional revelations.
The first is that the reunion with Aimee that Joel imagined is far from the one he actually gets. A lot of time has elapsed since they last saw one another, and it quickly becomes apparent that simply picking up where they left off isn’t on the agenda. But this is tempered by the fact that through the notes left in his map and a radio conversation he has with the people in his bunker, Joel realizes has a home to return to where he’s loved and appreciated – he just has to get there.
This proves difficult when Joel puts together that Cap is trying to poison him and everyone else, and we quickly learn why. He and his crew have been struggling with the absence of fossil fuels, and so the way they get about on the ocean is by having a giant crab tug the yacht along. That giant crab needs to be fed, though, and that’s what Aimee’s colony is for. Cap and co. sail around, finding and capturing colonies to keep the crab fed and their supplies stocked up. This leads to a gonzo final encounter during which Joel realizes that the crab is, in fact, not his enemy. Forgoing the opportunity to kill it, he instead frees it to turn on Cap and his crew.
With the threat averted, Joel is able to say goodbye to Aimee and set out with his dog for the return journey – he also releases a message that gets piped into several bunkers, advising that the mountains might be the safest place to reside. As we see several groups begin to leave their hideaways and head for higher ground, we see Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt) and Clyde (Michael Rooker) on a bluff, monitoring their progress, with mixed opinions about their chance of success.
Obviously, there’s plenty of room here for more. Dylan O’Brien is a safe bet for a franchise after his time in Teen Wolf and The Maze Runner, and Jessica Henwick is an exciting breakout talent who could stand to be tethered to a major property after the Netflix/Marvel shows got canceled and the potential for a Daughters of the Dragon miniseries dried up. With lots still to learn about Joel and Aimee, the monsters themselves, the various colonies, Clyde and Minnow, and even Joel’s dog, the idea of Love and Monsters ending here seems unlikely. Count me in for whatever we get next.