Little Monsters – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Abe Forsythe
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Kat Stewart, Diesel La Torraca, Josh Gad
In cinemas November 15th
I find it odd that this wasn’t released before Halloween to cash in on the thirst for all things ghoulish. Although we may be bombarded with zombie fare lately the end of October feels like a better time to release a movie like this rather than mid-November when people are already watching holiday films. However, as a US, Australian and UK co-production no doubt this came down to the funding agreement, and it has already been released in those other territories.
The bizarre timing of the release aside, this is a zombie movie with a twist. England plays Dave, a washed up musician who is crashing with his sister after the break-up of his relationship – so far so cliché. He finds himself volunteering to help on her son’s field trip to a farm because he takes quite a shine to their teacher, Miss Caroline (Nyong’o). Of course – for comic effect – a kids’ TV personality Teddy McGiggle (Gadd) just happens to be filming there. That’s the least of Dave’s worries though as during a tractor ride the class is attacked by zombies and the whole farm is overrun with the undead critters. Cue much survival of the fittest (and most intelligent) type scenes as Miss Caroline and Dave try to ensure that the children make it off the farm alive.
Zombies are pretty much done to death at this stage (pun intended) thanks to shows such as The Walking Dead. However, this manages to feel a bit more energised than the usual fare. That is thanks in no small part to Nyong’o whose Miss Caroline is tirelessly bubbly to the point of being sweetly annoying (yes that is possible). England is great as Dave who discovers he has more moral fibre than even he realised. Unfortunately, Gadd is just tedious as McGiggle and this character could have been written out of the movie without making much difference to the plot.
Adding the rom com element to this helps distract from the rather thin zombie story and adds a charm to it that is usually lacking from a straightforward horror flick – although it is a bit clichéd at times. Also, the make-up and effects aren’t the greatest you’ll ever see but it’s such fun you overlook this. Ditto the plot holes and dramatic license – of which there are a lot!
It’s nice to see Nyong’o (Us, 12 years a Slave) doing something less serious and this is a very enjoyable romp even if you are not usually a fan of the zombie genre. The gore is very much slapstick and even when it is being completely silly it is still engaging. It’s not a great movie – it has a basic premise that is stretched pretty thin and it has more cheesy moments than Charleville – but it is extremely entertaining. Although you will have Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off stuck in your head for days afterwards. You have been warned.