comedy & parody

[Movie Review] Little Monsters (2019) ★★★★☆

Miss Caroline singing and playing on her ukelele

Little Monsters is a charming little zombie film which brings some laughs and happy tears.


Little Monsters is an endearing zombie comedy with more emphasis on the heartfelt moments than on the zombies, the blood or the gore. Although the zombies might be a plot device to let the story about a loser and a kindergarten teacher evolve, they get enough space to be slaughtered in a humorous way, and form a real threat especially to the little kids. It’s a fun mixture that works out as a romzom that can even bring some tears in your eyes. This fun little flick can be evenly appreciated by the horror and zombie fans but by the romantics as well, for it’s more than just a zombie film. 


Plot

Dave is a loser first class. He used to play in a band, but now fights with his girlfriend all the time. After breaking up with her he moves in with his sister Tess and her 5 year old son Felix. When he falls for Felix’s teacher Miss Caroline, things take a turn for the better or worse, when he volunteers to go on a schooltrip to Pleasure Valley to help Miss Caroline out and to win her heart. But when in a nearby military facility all zombies break loose, things start to get ugly and Dave and Miss Caroline must work together to save the children.


Why you should watch it

The film starts out as a dark comedy that can be quite rude or vulgar. It looks like easy joke-making for some crude humor. It sets the tone for Dave, but luckily not for the whole story. It starts out this way to make sure everybody knows Dave acts more like a sixteen year old rather than an adult. The fun really starts when they all go to Pleasant Valley, a petting zoo, located next to a military facility where dubious experiments take place. It’s a comical setup that can’t go wrong. 

When the zombies break loose the real fun begins. These slow moving zombies look all right, although the little kids don’t think so and Miss Caroline makes it all into a game so the kids don’t get scared. Her efforts and Dave’s change to a responsible adult who really loves his nephew really let the film shine. Especially Miss Caroline is a radiant ass kicking zombie killer and an obnoxious-man-slapper, who does everything to save her children. 

It’s the combination of her character and actions, sweet and lovable on the one hand and a ruthless killer on the other, that is the heart of the film. Add to this the endearing heartfelt moments shared by Dave and Felix and his little scared girlfriend and you might even need some tissues. Felix in his Darth Vader costume using The Force to pet a lamb and then save his uncle is funny and so cute, you want to take him home.

The story evolves mostly around Dave and Miss Caroline but also the children get an amount of time, singing songs when someone says a bad word, and the vigor with which they act, sing and dance is a wonderful sight.

It’s fun, not that gory, we don’t see all the zombies get killed in an explicit way, it has sincere sentiment and sometimes it’s even exciting. It has a little bit of everything, even romance, and ends up as a real feel good movie. 


My favorite part

I loved Lupita Nyong’o as Miss Caroline. She’s absolutely perfect in everything she does. She can sing, play the ukelele, she twirls with her pretty yellow dress, smacks zombies in the head with a shovel, decapitates them and sticks a pitchfork in their guts, and returns to the children with a blood-soaked dress and a radiant smile. She is cute as she is fierce and strong and shows us a whole new kind of female hero. Maybe she’s even a little bit scary sometimes. 

But I also loved Felix and his heroic adventures, to help his girlfriend and to save his uncle Dave. He comes up with great oneliners and his face is expressive and brings in some adoring humor, especially when Dave gets him in all sorts of adult trouble in the beginning of the film. 

I didn’t care for Teddy McGiggles. I understand his role in the film and that he has to be as obnoxious as possible, but aside from giving Miss Caroline another chance to prove she’s a badass, his part felt intrusive. It sometimes ruins the tone of the film, too crude and offensive and too shallow. I know he’s supposed to be this way, but apart from a great death scene which gives the frog hand puppet an opportunity to finally shine, he spoils the overall tone of the film. 

But don’t forget the singing zombies clapping their hands, walking like lambs to the slaughter lead by a ukulele playing Miss Caroline. It’s hilarious. Yes, that sounds as silly as it is, but you can’t help but laugh. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★☆

Fun factor: ★★★★☆

Entertainment factor: ★★★★☆


Cast and crew

Little Monsters is directed and written by Abe Forsythe. It stars Lupita Nyong’o (Miss Caroline), Alexander England (Dave), Josh Gad (Teddy McGiggle), Diesel La Torraca (Felix) and Kat Stewart (Tess).

Duration: 93 minutes. Music: Piers Burbrook de Vere. Cinematograpy: Lachlan Milne. Edited by: Jim May, Drew Thompson. Produced by: Jessica Calder, Keith Calder, Steve Hutensky, Jodi Matterson, Bruna Papandrea. Production companies: Made Up Stories, Protagonist Pictures, Snoot Entertainment. Distributed by: Altitude Films, Neon.


Check the trailer below


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