Writer-director Abe Forsythe’s Little Monsters is an entertaining, if forgettable, zombie comedy. The film’s leads are a definite plus.
Dave agrees to chaperone his nephew’s class trip, after he takes a shine to the teacher Miss Caroline. The pair must protect the children when an zombie outbreak occurs…
The narrative of Little Monsters follows Dave, an adult who clearly needs to grow up. The opening gambit is very funny, and a great introduction to the protagonist. Dave’s outlandishness is amusing; he is both refreshing and crude in his expression. The film is clearly a redemption tale, with a protagonist initially following self interest before learning to care about others. Forsythe approaches this theme in a playful manner, giving the audience enough to laugh about on the way. When it does get a bit more serious, the film loses its shine a little.
At just over ninety minutes, Little Monsters is fairly succinct in telling its story. As the film reaches its climax, the peril is never really sincere. Despite the bawdiness of the first half of the film, the way the second half pans out means there is never a fear that the children are in real danger. The jokes hit more often than not. The film does not skimp on gore, although Forsythe goes the cartoonish route, in keeping with the tone.
Alexander England delivers a good performance as Dave. Lupita Nyong’o is a delight. Josh Gad is suitably irritating as Teddy. Although an antagonist among the zombie hordes may have been needed, Teddy gets too much screen time for the scope of his role. Music is used well in the film, and is often employed for laughs.
In focusing on Dave’s character development, the film gives up on outrageousness. There was an opportunity for the film to become blackly humorous, and it is a bit of a disappointment that Fotsythe does not go this route. Nevertheless Little Monsters never bores, and there are enough laughs to placate most viewers.
Little Monsters is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2018, and will be released in UK cinemas on 15th November 2019.