Spoilers might come back and eat you.
There are some good movies out there that have this minor, unnecessary flaw that prevents from being great. Sometimes I can still watch the movie despite the flaw, sometimes it just holds me back too much. I had heard good word-of-mouth for this film back in the 2019 Fantasia Film Festival, but I missed the film. Now that I had a chance to catch it, I found one thing that was hard to ignore that I wish could be changed.
Little Monsters (2019) is written and directed by Abe Forsythe. The movie stars Lupita Nyong’o as Miss Caroline, a teacher that brings her young class on a school trip to a turns dangerous when a zombie breakout occurs. Interesting right? Except that’s not the actual film. The actual movie stars Alexander England as a slacker wash-out musician named Dave who breaks out with his girlfriend and decides to join his nephew Felix (Diesel La Torraca). It’s really curious that Lupita Nyong’o is a secondary character because the moment she appears she is the obvious driving force behind this film.
I do love the story, once we bring in Miss Caroline, Felix and the kids. Even the appearance of Josh Gad as jaded children’s entertainer Teddy McGiggle works for this film. Miss Caroline is the hero, Felix is the kid that breaks out of his shell, Teddy is the asshole that we love to hate. As a matter of fact, Teddy has to act like more an asshole to eclipse Dave. In my mind, however, Teddy ends up becoming more of an engaging character than Dave. Dave just has no charisma to pull the slacker image we should be finding adorable, even with charming Felix along for the ride.
In my mind, the story should start with Caroline, Dave should die early and Teddy should get the redemption arc. I get that we’re trying to make Dave the point of view character for audiences to identify with, but he’s just too bland for that role. Audiences can identify with Lupita Nyong’o a lot easier. It speaks volumes that once she’s introduced everyone else kind of fades into the background – she’s more than charismatic enough to take the spotlight. With the poster, trailer and billing already hyping up her appearance, you could have easily fixed this film for her to be the star.
Recommended for horror comedy fans with one reservation. I think you know which one it is at this point. It’s a comedy and not a horror film. You can probably guess none of the zombies are going to eat the kids, so the threat level is low. Hardcore zombie enthusiasts will probably want something with more of a bite. It does get cheesy sometimes so you’re either rooting for Miss Caroline or you’re not a fan. I did root for the zombies when Dave was the one being chased. Almost a family movie except for all the gore, which you’re kind of numb to at some point.
That will do for now.