5.5/10 What do you get when you take “Zombieland” but replace the zombies with monsters? This is the precise movie you get. The screenwriters must have watched “Zombieland” and said, “What if we just replaced the zombies with something else but essentially kept everything else the same?” and then started writing this. While there are elements to admire here, this movie takes way too much from “Zombieland” but isn’t as funny and with less likeable characters, which makes the final product here very mediocre. Like “Zombieland”, this movie has an awkward, rather nerdy white male lead in love with a girl he isn’t currently with, who narrates the movie, meets up with strangers who become friends along the way and follows specific rules/lessons that are documented/narrated for the audience. If you’ve never seen “Zombieland” you could be forgiven for finding this movie to be original but as someone who enjoyed both “Zombieland” films, this feels like a rip off in a ton of ways. The unoriginal story/formula this movie follows is its downfall from what could have been something truly special. As for the elements that do work well, lead actor Dylan O’Brien has charisma and great onscreen presence as he makes his way through this post-apocalyptic wasteland. Several of the supporting characters, while only onscreen briefly, make a lasting impact (Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt are great here). While you can tell that the monsters are CGI, they still look rather impressive and intimidating, which helps with the believability of it all. The production design and costume design both fit the futuristic, dystopian atmosphere very well and seeing how the characters adapt and use what they have is pretty interesting. The movie is well paced and has fun moments, making it enjoyable to watch. I just wish more time and effort would have been put into writing this so the story could have been worth telling and these characters could have been funnier and worth spending more time with. A joke about getting kicked out of a colony for stealing food which wasn’t funny the first time gets beaten into the ground until it becomes repetitive and obnoxious. Decent direction and great acting will never make up for bad writing. The movie ends with some slight setup for a sequel. Let’s just hope if a sequel gets made that the current screenwriters get eaten by giant, mutant bugs and get replaced with better talent who are on the same level as the director and cast.

#ChasingAimee / #MonstersStInc / #AMonsterFalls / #GreatFightWithDylanOBrien / #CreatureFeature / #DawsonsWeak

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