LITTLE MONSTERS is the latest film from writer/director Abe Forsythe about a washed-up musician and a kindergarten teacher who must defend a group of young kids against a zombie outbreak. The film stars Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Alexander England (Alien: Covenant), Kat Stewart (Underbelly), Diesel La Torraca (Lambs of God) and Josh Gad (Frozen). To best describe the plot, I’ll turn to the official synopsis:
Dave (Alexander England), a washed up musician, volunteers to chaperone his nephew’s kindergarten field trip after taking a shine to the plucky schoolteacher, Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o). Dave’s intentions are complicated by the presence of world-famous child entertainer and competitor for Miss Caroline’s affections, Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad). One thing none of them bargained for, however, is a sudden zombie outbreak from which Dave and Miss Caroline must protect the children.
The film opens with Dave, a self-centered man-child, and his girlfriend Sara (Nadia Townsend) fighting throughout separate vignettes, eventually resulting in a breakup fueled by Dave’s refusal to have kids. After moving out of their shared apartment, he ends staying with his sister Tess (Kat Stewart) and his young nephew, Felix (Diesel La Torraca). After dropping Felix off at school one day, he meets the charming Miss Caroline, Felix’s kindergarten teacher. When he learns that a volunteer can’t make it to the kindergarten excursion to Pleasant Valley Farms, Dave jumps in and volunteers himself even though he is clearly not a huge fan of kids. However, things take a turn for the worse when a sudden zombie outbreak occurs at a nearby US Army Testing Facility. As the zombies make their way over to Pleasant Valley Farms, all the while munching on any human that gets in their way, it’s up to Dave and Miss Caroline, along with the narcissistic, world-famous child entertainer, Teddy McGiggles, to protect the kids while making sure they all survive this unfortunate zombie invasion.
LITTLE MONSTERS is such a god damn delight and so refreshing that I didn’t even realize how badly I needed a movie like this in my life. There are many people who have already begun comparing it to another well-known zombie-comedy, Shaun of the Dead, which is something I can definitely see, especially in regards to the parallels between Dave and Shaun. At his core, Dave, played by Alexander England, is lovable, but he’s an absolute mess who starts off only being concerned for himself and his mediocre band. Even though he doesn’t have a lot of redeeming qualities in the beginning, the way in which his character changes throughout the film is quite impressive, resulting in a person that is easier to relate to. As for the object of his affection, Lupita Nyong’o brings Miss Caroline to life with all the sunshine and rainbows at her disposal. I wish growing up I had more teachers that were like Miss Caroline, though I can only imagine the thousands upon thousands upon thousands of teachers out there in the world who would go to the same lengths as Miss Caroline in order to protect the children in their care. I love that Lupita has fully embraced the horror genre between her role in this as well as in Jordan Peele’s Us, and can only hope that we will continue to see her more and more because she’s such a fiercely talented actress who fully embodies every role she takes on.
Then we have Josh Gad as Teddy McGiggles and holy hell did I just fall in love? I’ll be honest, when I think of Josh Gad I think of him doing the voice of Olaf in Frozen, a movie that I’m not a huge fan of but do enjoy his somewhat annoying snowman character. Going into LITTLE MONSTERS I figured he would play another lovable character but I WAS SO WRONG. Teddy McGiggles is an asshole through and through and Josh Gad does a hilarious job of bringing the character to life, so much so that you kind of love to hate him (or hate to love him – whatever works). I’ve always wondered how child entertainers are like outside of their persona and if Teddy McGiggles is any indication of what that is then ohhh boyyy. I also have to give a shout out to all the kids that are in the film. I can’t imagine doing a movie such as this, at such a young age, and being surrounded by people made to look like decaying humans. Killer Klowns From Outer Space scared the ever-loving shit out of me as kid and that’s nowhere near as graphic as films are today, to I tip my hat to all of them and hope they don’t have too many nightmares.
I think what’s important to take away from this film are the themes surrounding change and growth. Sure, it may not be at the forefront like the zombie attacks are, but when you see how much Dave changes in that span of time, it gives you hope that anyone is capable of turning their lives around. I’m sure some of you reading this are like, “I just want zombies ripping people’s limbs off,” and as sweet and sentimental as the overarching themes are, there is still enough gore and carnage for those horror fans that demand it. Add in multiple moments of hilarity, and you have a film that is not only gory and funny (and features Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” numerous times), but a movie that has a lot of heart. Listen, I’m not even a fan of kids and I’ll be the first to admit that after watching LITTLE MONSTERS I couldn’t help but think that this was one of the most adorable films of the year. The fact that writer/director Abe Forsythe was able to elicit such a strong emotional reaction from me in regards to wanting to see these kids protected at all costs is a testament to how well he was able to integrate Felix and his schoolmates story with that of the unfolding storylines of the adults.
In all, LITTLE MONSTERS is the feel good zombie horror comedy that we all deserve this year. It has terrific performances from the entire cast along with a positive message and enough bloodshed to satiate gore fanatics. Plus, who the hell doesn’t want to see Lupita Nyongo’s destroying flesh-eating zombies with a rake? Cause that’s definitely something I 100% need in my life at all times. All that said, make sure to keep your eyes out for LITTLE MONSTERS when it begins streaming on Hulu, October 11, 2019.