LFF REVIEW: “One of the best ‘Zom-Coms’ going” – ‘Little Monsters’ (2019)

Rating: 4 out of 4.

Moments of sincerity that push this above other horror comedies

Since her Best Supporting Actress win at the Oscars back in 2014 for her role in 12 Years a Slave, Lupita Nyong’o has been crying out for a lead role that can showcase her talents fully. Her work in Queen of Katwe and Black Panther showed promise for what other skills she had up her sleeve but 2019 has proved to be the year where she found her genre: Horror. Us, Jordan Peele’s latest thriller saw her battling doubles of her family and herself, while Little Monsters instead brings Nyong’o face to face with the undead.

Dave (Alexander England) is a washed up musician, crashing on his sister’s sofa after the breakup of his latest relationship. To make up for his schlubby behaviour he offers to look after his nephew, Felix (Diesel La Torraca) and with a chance to spend time with bubbly kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline (Nyong’o) he puts himself forward to chaperon the school trip to the local farm. Sadly the farm happens to be situated comically close to an American experimental base, where the latest strand of zombies have broken loose and are about to wreak havoc on the farms residents.

What differs Little Monsters from Us is the self awareness in it’s comedy. While Us features some incredibly comedic moments (NWA blaring over a murder thanks to an Alexa mixup), Little Monsters is fully aware of the ridiculousness of it’s premise. When early on some of the American soldiers question if they are “fast ones or slow ones, sir?” it becomes apparent that filmmaker Abe Forsythe is ready to tackle some classic zombie tropes. From hilariously dressed characters turned into flesh eaters, to comically rude outbursts from kids show hosts, Little Monsters offers plenty to enjoy in the comedy department as well as having a good heart underneath the rotting flesh.

Lupita Nyong’o has a lot of talent and is able to finally show off some of her comedic skills here as well as musical talents with some ukulele driven Taylor Swift covers. This film can hopefully see her get more roles in the comedy genre as she really does a lot of the heavy lifting, providing great visual gags as well as perfect line delivery. England on the other hand feels a little heavy handed with his performance as his role relies heavily on gross-out and made-to-offend laughs. It is however Josh Gad’s role as Teddy McGiggle, the kids show host with a foul mouth that is bound to split audiences. Some will find his brand of comedy hilarious as he destroys his image in front of the children who adore him. Others  are bound to find him grating and will beg that he meets a grizzly end. 

While the film features strong comedy, it’s the moments of sincerity that push this above other horror comedies. The film is all about protecting these children from the zombie threat and about the growth of Alexander England’s, Dave. Without these elements, this movie would falter but instead it serves to be an enjoyable time. This movie feeds off of a lively and willing audience and much like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead is going to be included as one of the best ‘zom-coms’ going.

Dir: Abe Forsythe

Prod: Jodi Matterson; Bruna Papandrea; Steve Hutensky; Keith Calder; Jessica Calder

Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Diesel La Torraca, Josh Gad

Release Date: 15 November 2019 (UK)