I just wish Taylor Swift’s music was featured in better movies…
Little Monsters is directed by Abe Forsythe, stars Alexander England, Lupita Nyong’o, and Josh Gad, and follows Dave, a guy trying to figure his life out after a breakup when he chaperones his nephew’s school field trip that gets overrun by zombies in an attempt to get closer to his attractive teacher (Nyong’o).
Hot off the Us train, the easy sell to me for this one was yet another genre film with Nyong’o. I had heard decent things about this one coming from Sundance and SXSW, so figured I may as well check it out at Fantasia since it still hasn’t been given a release date.
Little Monsters pitches itself as a horror-comedy. I guess you could call it that. The first alarming aspect of this one was the fact that it’s only 30-ish minutes into the film until the first zombie is seen. Until then it essentially plays off as a straight-up raunchy comedy, one that relies on sex jokes either being told by kids or to kids. While that isn’t something that necessarily turns me off from the get-go (as that kind of comedy is solely what makes this summer’s Good Boys so great), but the main issue I took with that is the fact that the story behind this film is the least bit compelling.
I had a hard time investing myself in any of the characters in this film. Each story element either didn’t work comedically and horror-wise or, every character was written from a clichè. The plot takes too long to get going, and when it does the film becomes confused whether it wants to make you laugh or frightened. This causes for the second and third acts to move relatively slower than a movie of this kind ever should.
The acting here is definitely passable, just not anything necessarily worth writing home about. Alexander England is incredibly likeable and makes do with what dialogue he’s given. I can definitely see him being put in bigger things after this. Lupita is also really good (as she always is) and makes do with her incredibly shallow-written character. She plays the clichèd lovely kindergarten teacher, and there are some badass moments of hers that just kind of feel tacked-on. I’m all for Lupita being a badass, I just wish there was more set-up in order for it to make sense. Josh Gad is probably the most memorable character in the film. He plays a wiggles-like child celebrity who is adored by all the kindergarteners and happens to be filming an episode of his TV show at the same petting zoo the school’s field trip is on. His role is *insane*, as what you assume is a friendly man ends up being a sex and drug-addicted maniac. His charisma and overall zaniness play off well with England, Nyong’o and all the kiddos.
An aspect of the film I was my most disappointed by was the horror-element. The film is obviously inspired by zombie comedies like Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland and it never quite works like those films do. Again, because of how lacking any set up is for the zombie aspect, it doesn’t quite work with the tone the rest of the film sets up beforehand.
While this film is easily watchable and entertaining, there just isn’t anything great about it. It’s easily passable, but I can’t say it works very well.