The Stream: It takes too long for the monsters in Little Monsters to appear.
The Big Screen: Funny and sweet mixed with the suspense of the zombie chase makes for a good combination.
The Final Bill: Zombie comedies have been done before, but this one has Lupita Nyong’o kicking butt and saving children.-Trip Fontaine
Runtime: 1 hour 34 minutes
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o (Miss Caroline), Alexander England (Dave), and Josh Gad (Teddy McGiggle)
Director: Abe Forsythe
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Rating: R (strong language and gore)
Little Monsters premiered this weekend on Hulu. No, not that Little Monsters – the classic from 1989 starring Fred Savage and Howie Mandel about the monsters that live under the kid’s bed. Little Monsters (2019) is a little bit Shaun of the Dead and a little bit Kindergarten Cop. Because this movie is already on a streaming device and “time is money”, I will tell you whether it is worth your time to stream Little Monsters.
From the trailer, you might believe that the movie is about a group of students on a field trip that gets overrun by zombies, and it is. It just takes a good 25-30 minutes to get to any of the monster action. We are transported to Australia where slacker, rockstar wannabe, Dave, is having an ongoing argument with his girlfriend. Needless to say, that relationship doesn’t end well such that Dave moves in with his sister and precocious nephew, Felix. Of course, Dave is inept and inappropriate in caring for Felix until he meets Felix’s luminous kindergarten teacher played by, Academy Award winner, Lupita Nyong’o. Eventually, the kindergarten class embarks on a field trip to Pleasant Valley Farm, which is next to a U.S. military base where some unexplained experiment is going on and going wrong. Zombies ensue.
Sure, it is a bit derivative of these other zombie comedies and other movie clichés abound. England’s character is the cliched unreliable uncle. Josh Gad plays a children’s television host, who is not-so-surprisingly less kid friendly off camera. Zombies stalk the set and crave flesh as they are known to do. The biggest savior/revelation for the film is Nyong’o. She sings, she kills zombies and she’s a delightful presence as the kindergarten teacher every 5 year-old should have. It is refreshing to see Nyong’o as the object of affection and a romantic lead here, and she has nice chemistry with England. There are some laughs here and there and some good music, if you’re a Taylor Swift fan especially. The zombies are grotesque-looking, so the makeup was on point. There are some really tense moments where you do not know whether they all will make it.
Ultimately, Little Monsters is not a must see film. If it were in the theater, I’d tell you to skip it. Since it is already on Hulu, it is probably a movie to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon, especially with Halloween coming up, even if it is just to marvel at how remarkably talented Lupita Nyong’o is. I wish she had more starring roles.
Great job, Trip! I must agree but with a caveat for the new parents in the world out there. If this came to theaters, I wouldn’t say completely skip it but it is must definitely a streaming gem. We haven’t seen a movie where toddlers are put in such peril. This movie is basically every new parent’s nightmare! For those of you with a kindergartener, I might say definitely check this out for the Halloween season, even if it’s for zombie apocalypse preparation. And for those of you looking to netflix and chill in this ghastly time of year… definitely check it out.