LOVE AND MONSTERS*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film opens with Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien) narrating what happened to Earth. Seven years earlier, a meteor called Agatha-16 came hurtling toward the planet, but the nations prevented impact by launching rockets to destroy it. Unfortunately, this led to chemical compounds raining down on Earth’s creatures, mutating things like insects, crabs, or slugs into gigantic monsters. Within a year, 95% of the human population is gone. Joel has been living in a bunker colony with survivors ever since.
Joel is the only one in his colony who doesn’t have a romantic partner. He usually has to listen to everyone have sex near him, and his biggest asset to them is making minestrone and occasional handy work since he has a problem with freezing when it comes to monsters. He usually draws the ones he’s seen and keeps a guide for how to survive in the new world. One afternoon, he manages to make contact with his old high school girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick) over the radio. She is staying with another colony of survivors at Jenner Beach, just 85 miles from where Joel is. Suddenly, their connection is cut when an ant monster breaches the colony. Joel wants to prove himself to the others that he can fight them too. Against everyone’s orders, Joel goes out armed with a crossbow and finds one of his mates getting devoured by the ant. The monster finds Joel, who freezes before the ant is shot with an arrow and then decapitated.
A flashback is shown of the day that the monster apocalypse began. Joel and Aimee were sitting on a hill in her car overlooking the town. He drew a picture of her but admits that it’s terrible. As they start to make out, they hear sirens and see the rockets being launched. They proceed to head back to their loved ones.
Joel decides to go out on his own to find Aimee, but the rest of the colony advises against it because it would be extremely dangerous and he is wildly unprepared for what is out there. Joel says that he does not want to spend the end of the world alone, so the others relent and let him go with whatever weapons he can carry. Not long into his venture, he finds a frog monster in a pond. Joel is helped out by a stray dog, who bites the frog’s tongue when it tries to eat Joel. He follows the dog into a bus, where he sees that the dog is called Boy. He keeps a red dress that belonged to his previous owner, and he gets defensive when Joel touches it. Joel stays in the bus with Boy for the night.
In the morning, Joel tries to head off on his own, but Boy wants to follow. Joel allows it and finds that Boy becomes an excellent companion. He even manages to keep Joel from eating poison berries. While walking, Joel falls into a nest of worm monsters. He is found by survivors Clyde (Michael Rooker) and Minnow (Arianna Greenblatt). They help pull him out and kill the creatures using a kitana and a grenade. The two berate Joel for being out in the field with the little expertise that he has, but they offer to let him and Boy join them on their venture to the mountains where the temperature is too cold for monsters.
Clyde and Minnow teach Joel a few things about dealing with monsters, such as how to identify some of them (the worms were Sand Gobblers), and they even help him improve his aim with his crossbow. On their journey, they find a giant snail monster that they call Boulder Snails. Clyde has Joel take off his shirt so that the creature may carry off with his scent to draw the other monsters away from them. He and Minnow point out that some monsters are friendly, but you can mostly tell by looking at their eyes. They also hardly stop to rest for fear that the monsters will steal food supplies before they can get to it. After he tells them he is going to find Aimee, they encourage him to not settle, even at the end of the world.
Once they reach their furthest points, Joel decides he must split from Clyde and Minnow. The little girl is upset since she had gotten attached to Joel, but he gives her a tube of lipstick as a keepsake, which she loves and is thankful for. Clyde also leaves him with some words of encouragement before they part ways. As Joel continues with Boy, they find a large centipede monster that almost eats Boy. Joel freezes again but remembers to when he was with his parents on the day of the apocalypse. He couldn’t save them and watched them get crushed by a monster. He gathers his courage and shoots the monster twice to save Boy, managing to kill it.
Joel and Boy seek shelter in an abandoned vehicle and find a robot called Mav1s (Melanie Zanetti), which was originally some kind of companion before all of them shut down, including one back at Joel’s colony. This Mav1s turns on and has a limited amount of battery power left. She manages to use her radio to help Joel get in touch with Aimee, and he finds that he is less than ten miles away from her location. Aimee tells Joel that a yacht captain has come with his crew to After the radio is cut off, Mav1s projects a lights display and even shows Joel a video memory of his mother saying encouraging words to him, moving him to tears. Mav1s’s battery soon runs out completely, and Joel buries the robot.
The next day, Joel and Boy continue forward, but Boy jumps into the river after his owner’s dress falls in. This attracts the attention of a Queen Sand Gobbler, a very deadly monster. Joel manages to kill it by timing a grenade toss and throwing it into the creature’s mouth at the right moment. However, he yells at Boy for almost getting them killed, causing the little dog to run away from Joel. He then sees he’s been bitten by numerous leeches and he starts to hallucinate from the poison. He manages to find a fern that Clyde told him works as an anti-venom. He then appears to see Aimee and a few of her fellow survivors approaching him. He kisses her before passing out.
Joel wakes up in Aimee’s bunker, where he learns that he actually kissed an older male survivor instead of her. She introduces him to Cap (Dan Ewing), the leader of the yacht team that has apparently come to take the colony to a safer location. After Joel sees the set-up on the beach, he has a private moment with Aimee. While she is happy to see him and glad that he survived, she tells him that she has long since moved on from him and even had a relationship with another survivor who died the year before. Joel is understanding but heartbroken.
Cap gathers the survivors around to discuss his plan to gather everyone to another place, but Joel suggests that they try to adapt to the surface based on what he has learned. The others choose the yacht plan. He then goes to contact his colony to let them know he made it safely. Everyone is excited and happy to hear Joel’s voice, as well as knowing that he actually managed to kill a monster. He is then brought a plate of berries, which he recognizes as the ones that Boy was trying to keep him away from. Joel realizes Cap is not what he seems. When he goes to warn Aimee, Cap’s henchwoman Dana (Ellen Holman) knocks Joel out.
Joel wakes up tied up with Aimee. Cap reveals his true intentions, being that he, Dana, and a third member, Rocko (Tre Hale), have been going to multiple colonies and robbed them of their resources by using a giant crab monster that he is controlling through electric manipulation, who also pulls the yacht. As Cap sends the crab after the survivors while they grab what they can, Joel manages to free himself and also sees the return of Boy. He sends Boy to help Aimee while they deal with the crab and the other villains. The crab grabs Joel, but he looks into the creature’s eyes and sees that he is one of the kinder monsters. He fires at the electrical chain to free the crab, who then goes out to the yacht to devour Dana, Rocko, and then finally feasting on Cap and what’s left of his yacht.
Joel makes plans to return to his own colony since he knows there is no place for him there. Before parting ways with Aimee, they share one last passionate kiss. It appears to reignite the spark for Aimee, and she tells Joel she will go find him. He leaves her with his monster survival guide and takes Boy with him to make the trip back to the colony, where he is welcomed with open arms.
Joel leads his colony to the surface now that he has a better understanding of the creatures around him. He broadcasts a message through the radio to other survivors to encourage them to go to the surface and fight back if necessary. Clyde and Minnow, who both made it to the mountain, hear the message and wish Joel well, although they think he will probably get eaten by Snow Spiders.
Seven years after monsters took over Earth, Joel Dawson has been living in a bunker colony of survivors, but he feels alone in there since he is the only one without a partner. When he learns that his old girlfriend Aimee is alive and in a colony just 85 miles away from him, he sets out on his own to find her, despite being wildly unprepared to face the dangers of the surface world.
Along the way, Joel befriends a dog called Boy, as well as survivors Clyde and Minnow, who help teach him about the monsters, how to defend himself, and which ones are harmless.
Joel reaches Aimee's colony, but she admits to having moved on from loving him. He understands but is heartbroken nonetheless. A man called Cap arrives with people to supposedly take them to a safer location, but Joel soon learns that Cap and his team just steal from other colonies since he uses a crab monster that is controlled with electricity. Joel sees that the creature is one of the nicer monsters and helps free it from Cap's control, allowing the crab to eat Cap and his team.
Joel decides to return to his colony with Boy but parts ways with Aimee after one last kiss. His colony welcomes him back warmly, and he sends a message to encourage other survivors to venture to the surface world with the hope that they can turn things around.