Written & directed by: Abe Forsythe
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Josh Gad, Diesel La Torraca & Kat Stewart
Rated: R (for bloody zombie violence, crude sexual content, language throughout and brief drug use)
Runtime: 1 hr. 30 min.
Release date: Oct. 11, 2019 (Hulu)
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Romance
Studio: Neon/ Hulu
If you’re looking to your local movie theater for some thrills and chills this spooky season, you may be disappointed. Hollywood is disappointingly offering up little to nothing in the way of new horror this Halloween. But don’t be discouraged. There are still some savory options out there to help you quench that bloody appetite, if you know where to look. Little Monsters, for example, is an unexpectedly sweet and unapologetically silly zombie-comedy courtesy of the land Down Under.
If you’ve caught any of the marketing for Little Monsters, you’re likely under the impression that the film stars Lupita Nyong’o. While the Oscar-winner is undoubtedly the highlight of the film and a co-lead, Little Monsters is truly told from the perspective of Alexander England’s Dave, a deadbeat wannabe rock star who’s fresh off a break-up and carelessly crashes with his adult sister (Kat Stewart) and her adorable five-year-old son Felix (Diesel La Torraca). As if to test the limitations of his own douchebaggery, Dave volunteers to chaperon Felix’s kindergarten class on a field trip to Pleasant Valley in order to make a move on their teacher, Miss Caroline (Nyong’o), a spirited ukulele-toting educator who constantly has her students on her mind and a plucky tune on her lips.
When they arrive at Pleasant Valley, Felix and his classmates are delighted to run into Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad), the laugh-happy host of a popular kids show, who isn’t everything he’s cracked up to be. Meanwhile, a horde of undead test subjects break free from the military testing facility located next door (because of course it is) and begin feasting on the unaware visitors to Pleasant Valley.
We don’t catch our first glimpse of a zombie until 22 minutes into Little Monsters and the film never suffers because of it. That’s because writer/director Abe Forsythe has crafted an endearing batch of protagonists to root for, casted them all pitch perfectly and gives each of them heartfelt moments. It’s a particular pleasure to watch as Gad flips the switch from the happy-go-lucky Disney-like persona he’s so often associated with to become an unlikable jerkasaurus and back again. Diesel La Torraca too gives one hell of a turn for a child actor. He’s saddled with an array of crucial emotional moments and he sells them all.
Once the genre elements do inevitably kick in, Forsythe makes the most of his budget. The gory visual effects are disgustingly realistic and the larger-scale military action is economically shot and edited.
What truly makes Little Monsters stand out in a horde of faceless zombie movies is the interplay between the innocence of children and the horrors of their world. We want the kids to survive the undead onslaught, but we want them to do it while maintaining their childlike wonder. It makes for some unique comedic moments that only this film can offer. Additionally, it heightens the importance of Miss Caroline’s and Dave’s actions.
While you may not find much to scream about in theaters this fall, you will definitely want to look Hulu’s way for Little Monsters. It’s a carefully crafted film bursting at the guts with heart, humor and wonderful performances. A new cult classic is upon us.
⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 (out of five)
Those are my thoughts on Little Monsters. Have you had a chance yet to check out this adorable film? If so, was it in theater or did you stream it on Hulu? More importantly, what did you think? Sound off in the comments below and let me know! I want to hear from you!