little monsters | abe forsythe | lupita nyong'o | josh gad | alexander england | comedy | united kingdom | australia | united states | zombie | zombies | nadia townsend | kat stewart | stephen peacocke | diesel la torraca | henry nixon | marshall napier | rahel romahn
Film: Little Monsters
Director: Abe Forsythe
Writer: Abe Forsythe
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Josh Gad and Alexander England
This was a film I remember hearing about and my theater kept showing trailers for it. I was intrigued to check it out, as I’m a fan of zombie movies. I also really like Lupita Nyong’o as an actress, so that helped peak my interest. The synopsis is a washed-up musician teams up with a teacher and a kid’s show personality to protect young children from a sudden outbreak of zombies.
We start this off seeing a couple as their relationship is falling apart. They are Dave (Alexander England) and Sara (Nadia Townsend). All they do is bicker and fight, which results in Dave leaving. We gets woke up on the couch by his nephew Felix (Diesel La Torraca). He doesn’t really understand what is best for Felix and lets him play what I’m assuming is Call of Duty, more specifically the bonus game of zombies. His mother comes in and is not happy, Tess (Kat Stewart).
Through family time we learn that Dave is scared of commitment. He also doesn’t really understand what it is to grow up. Felix doesn’t have a father and he also has a lot of food allergies. Tess works a lot to provide for him and she is doing a good job. Dave gets the idea though to take Felix, dress him up in a Darth Vader costume to win back his ex late that night. The problem is they walk in on her with another man. Dave is broken by what he sees. When they return home, Tess is irate and tells Dave he can’t stay there. He breaks down and Felix pleads with her. Dave has to take his nephew to school the following day to help make amends.
He takes him, but they’re running late. Through interactions with other students, Felix is kind of bullied. Dave is shocked when he meets the teacher though, Miss Caroline (Nyong’o). He finds her attractive and tries to flirt with her. She doesn’t really seem all that receptive though. Dave does see his chance when the following day, they need a chaperone for a trip to petting zoo, which Dave jumps at the chance.
This ideal attempt to hit on Miss Caroline takes a turn when next door is an United States Army military base. They have a breach and zombies get free. They head for the petting zoo where Miss Caroline along with Dave must protect the children. Also with them is a children’s TV show host, Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad), who isn’t as happy or kid friendly as his persona. Miss Caroline is determined to keep the kids alive and well despite the monsters around them.
Now this was a film I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to like it. Horror/comedies are something that I either like or just don’t land with me. To add to this, we have children so I already have an idea that a lot of what makes a horror film better would be cut. Regardless though, I will say that I did have a lot of fun with this one.
Since I already brought it up, the comedy really worked for me. There’s a montage of things with the relationship between Sara and Dave. It was quite funny , because even though break-ups I’ve had in the past weren’t as bad, I’ve definitely gone through some of those situations. That did make me chuckle. There are some really funny situations that arise involving the children as well. Teddy has issues watching his mouth after the zombies attack and Dave can’t control his from the jump. It definitely makes for some funny moments. Miss Caroline contributes with trying to shelter these kids from what is really happening as well.
I will say that this one does have to some good heart to it. It gets to the crux of Dave’s character and he needs to grow up. This situation forces him to do that. Miss Caroline also has some things that she is harboring, which helps Dave to open up. Heck, even Teddy has some issues that he needs to deal with as well. Since they had to tame some of this film down, I think this actually helps it. I also want to say there is some really good writing with things that happen or referenced come back later.
There is something that happens with the zombies near the end that I wasn’t the biggest fan of. It gets introduced so late and it doesn’t go anywhere. I think it just wants to be played for laughs, but I think if you’re going to introduce this aspect, they should have taken it more than they did. It doesn’t ruin the film, but just something that I noticed.
I’ve kind of already moved into this a bit, but I want to shift to the pacing. I feel like since this is a horror comedy, it does struggle to build tension. On top of that, I knew going in having all of these children, which would hurt as well since they can’t go gory or full on scary. I do think having all of the zombies surround where they’re hiding does help and the military is looking to bomb the area to wipe them out does as well. The ending is cute and heartwarming, which does fit the feel of the movie.
Taking this to the acting, we do have some really good performances here. Nyong’o really just surprises me with every role that I see her in. I love that she is so bright and bubbling in front of the children, but we see her in private where she is normal. I love that duality. She also has an amazing singing voice. Gad is pretty funny here and I really like that he embodies what I think most TV personalities are probably like. He’s such a jerk, which did spark a reaction out of me. England I thought was good as well. He has a good character arch and the growth that is needed for this movie to work. I thought that Stewart is also pretty solid in support. The children I thought were fine. They weren’t great and were annoying at times, so that at least fit. The zombies do move really good, so that does help to round this out as well.
To the effects, the look of the zombies was amazing. They were actually quite creepy and each one looked pretty distinct. It is interesting that this has an R-rating, which most of that is due to the language. I think that the blood and gore on these creatures definitely helps there. A problem I did have with this film though is that there are a lot of kills off screen, mostly when zombies are killed. We do get some later in the film, but I wanted just a bit more if I’m honest. The film is shot well overall though.
The last thing to cover would be the soundtrack. The biggest thing about this goes to Miss Caroline singing both children’s songs as well as Taylor Swift. It is pretty funny and seeing Dave not enjoying it. He actually has a pretty good voice though as well. The rest of the score didn’t necessarily stand out, but it fit for what was needed.
Now with that said, this film I ended up having a lot of fun with. I like the idea of zombies attacking this petting zoo while this classroom of children is there. The problem though is that this does hurt the tension, because I figured nothing bad would happen to any of the children. With that not being there, it needed to build this in different ways. I will say that I think this does have some good heart and it is funny. The acting definitely helps there, which the three stars are all solid. The look of the zombies is also really good, but I do feel that too many of the deaths were off screen. The soundtrack I liked what they did with it. I would say that this film is good. If you have children who can handle bad language, this would be a recommend. It is a fun film that if you enjoy horror/comedies, especially ones with zombies, I think you can get a laugh or two from this.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10