Little Monsters (15) | Close-Up Film Review
Little Monsters is a gory horror comedy involving zombies, tiny tots and their sweet as sugar teacher.
The “hero”, if you can call him that, is Dave (Alexander England) a grungy, grubby looking, failed heavy metal rocker. Having just split up from his girlfriend with whom he indulges in non-stop, high volume shouting matches at the opening of the film, Dave is staying with his elder sister Tess (Kat Stewart) and her five year old son Felix (Diesel La Torraca). When Dave meets Felix’s teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o) he takes a fancy to her, so he volunteers to help out on a class trip to Pleasant Valley Farm, which is a sort of fun fair cum animal petting zoo. But when the zoo is invaded by a fast growing plague of zombies originating froma nearby US Army experimental station, Dave has to come up to the mark and try to play the hero.
The real heroine of the film is Nyong’o, who manages to make her character likeable despite being more relentlessly goody goody and upbeat with her charges than Maria in The Sound of Music, as she leads them in the singing of jolly kiddy songs, while pretending that the flesh eating humans turned zombies, who are surrounding the souvenir shop in which they are trapped, are all just part of a jolly game. And she really gets into the swing of things when she is fighting for her life, beheading the undead and explaining away the gore on her clothes as strawberry jam. Also on hand is Josh Gad as young Felix’s hero, a kiddies’ tv host who predictably turns out to be a coward, a secret drinker and a total deadbeat.
England as Dave manages to make the change from deadbeat loser to save the day hero. He even gets better looking as the film progresses. And the children are cute, though some of Felix’s sweet sayings get a bit lost in his childish Aussie accented treble. There is some fun to be had seeing Felix in his Darth Vadar outfit going into battle with Dave at his side and also the sight of Nyong’o leading an army of pursuing zombies in a chorus of “If you’re happy, clap your hands”. Said army is also impressive in its numbers. It looks like every available adult and child in New South Wales, where the film was shot, was recruited to join in the fun.
The comedy overall is however more than somewhat juvenile, though because of its gore and 15 certificate, kids and early teens won’t be allowed to see it, which is a shame, as the little blighters are so hardened and bloodthirsty these days, they’d probably enjoy it. But despite coming up with what is an original story line for a zombie movie, the treatment of it isn’t that inventive and a lot of the time it’s not that funny. Not a patch on Shaun of the Dead for example.