The film opens with Joel Dawson
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 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
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
and Minnow. 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, 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, 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 knocks Joel out.
Joel wakes up tied up with Aimee. Cap reveals
his true intentions, being that he, Dana,
and a third member, Rocko, 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.