In a modern age of film and TV where zombie stories have sat front and centre in popular horror. Developing something new and inventive is not always easy. However, with Little Monsters Writer/Director Abe Forsythe manages to deliver something truly fresh and different. A relentlessly funny comic book tale of a slacker and a teacher fighting American created zombies at a petting zoo in Australia. The films narrative jumping from relationship comedy to pure comic book horror. Paying homage to the classic zombie horror of George A. Romero in the process.
Dave (Alexander England) is a habitual slacker, running away from his responsibilities at every opportunity. His life stuck in a perpetual teenage boy loop. His relationship with his long term girlfriend ending acrimoniously after arguments about whether they should conceive a child.
Following this break up Dave ends up at his sisters house sleeping on her couch. Where he begins to develop a relationship with his young nephew Felix, who at five years old, is often more mature than him. However, on chaperoning his nephew to school, Dave meets Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o). A teacher who oozes charm and control. His obsession with her leading to him to volunteer on a school trip to a petting zoo, in the hope of wooing her.
Surrounded by five year olds and the highly irritating Kids TV star Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad). Dave’s own immaturity and insecurity dovetails with the kids around him. However, as a U.S military base just 500km ahead looses control of the zombie experimentations its conducting. The petting zoo innocence is soon to be replaced with slow moving, flesh munching zombie’s.
Little Monsters is classic comic book horror/comedy, its cult credentials shining through the films humour and narrative. The classic Night of Living Dead house replaced by a souvenir shop of safety as the the slow moving zombies munch their way through the petting zoo. It’s humour and anarchy delicious in both the first half and final half of the film. However, it struggles to maintain this pace mid point through the action. Trying too hard to create a love story and meaning through a deluge of severed limbs and brains. And while there are tender moments, you find yourself waiting for a return to the laugh out loud comedy and comic book joy the film does so well.
Performances are delightful, warm and engaging throughout. The natural humour and inventive qualities of the children mixing with the adult comedy and horror in creating a truly fresh aesthetic. The comic timing of Alexander England and Lupita Nyong’o perfectly balanced against the zombie horror and gore surrounding them. While the shoot first ask questions later response of American troops. Even when discovering the zombies like to sing nursery rhymes satirically dissects similar and more serious U.S zombie horror offerings.
While not perfect in construct, Little Monsters is creative, fun and child like in its zombie apocalypse tale. Never seeking to take itself seriously while providing a rollercoaster of comic book joy. Its comedy and cult credentials rising above its slightly deflated mid section.
Director: Abe Forsythe
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Josh Gad, Diesel La Torraca.