little mosnters

Another zombie movie. Saying this as someone who’s iTunes library contains a whopping twenty movies centering on zombies, even I’m like ‘are we done here yet?’. But I took one look at Lupita Nyong’o in her bright yellow dress covered in blood, and I knew I had to see this movie.

The film begins by introducing us to Dave. Dave is a down on his luck thirty-something, with a little extra asshole sprinkled in for unlike-ability. Before the events of the farm, he ends his relationship with his longtime girlfriend. She wants to start a family, and he has no intention of being a father.

He freeloads off his older sister and his five-year-old nephew. After a series of unfortunate events that land him in trouble, he undertakes the terrible task of dropping off his nephew at school. There, he meets Felix’s teacher, Miss Caroline. She’s a Christian, ukulele playing borderline-aggravating optimist that Dave is instantly smitten with.

Dave, hoping to impress Miss Caroline, volunteers to chaperone a class trip to a farm and petting zoo. In a strange twist of fate, the class discovers that popular children’s performer Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad), is hosting a show at the farm. And this is our setup. A teacher and her class, a musician and an alcoholic, neurotic milf-crazy celebrity find themselves in the middle of a zombie invasion.

Lupita and Those Other Guys

I couldn’t wait to see Lupita Nyong’o, and I wasn’t let down. She’s a phenomenal actress, and her portrayal as Miss Caroline is no different. As usual, Lupita steals the show as a chippy teacher trying to keep rowdy kids from getting eaten. She sings upbeat pop songs on the Ukulele, and, in the next scene, drives a pitchfork through a zombie. A perfect sort-of juxtaposition.

little monsters

As the other protagonist, Dave must go through his inevitable redemption. It begins when Felix goes into anaphylactic shock after eating chips. Dave inserts the EpiPen into himself, rendering it useless to Felix. While Miss Caroline is searching for an unused pen, Dave apologizes, promises to be better. Of course, the kid lives, and Dave is born anew. It’s a scenario where an unlikeable character reveals he has a heart of gold, and you’ve seen it a million times.  It’s cheesy and predictable as all hell, but it happens and you can’t help but smile.

And Teddy Gigglebone, the arguable-tritagonist, probable-antagonist. Advertised as a feel-good zombie comedy, it delivered on the feel-good. Besides Josh Gad, the comedy aspect faltered. Josh Gad, the “funnyman” that drops headfirst into blabbering madness, feels unfinished. You’d think there would be more to it like he has a change of heart and decides to help the gang, but no. He throws in some jokes about the terrible things he’s done. He confesses to Dave that he’s a bad person, and then tries to drink rubbing alcohol. And that’s it. It feels like they had bigger plans for him, but time restraints limited the role to mediocre comedic relief.

Predictable, But a Good Time

For its feel-good moments and interesting cast, I’ll say this. Don’t expect much from Little Monsters. It’s no Shawn of the Dead or 28 Days Later, but it’s nothing awful. It’s a run-of-the-mill zombie flick that’s a fine waste of an hour. Little Monsters has an interesting setup, but it’s like it was too afraid to do anything with it. Things happen exactly the way you think they’re going to happen. And, no matter how stellar her performance, Lupita alone isn’t enough to fill out the movie.

Even in scenes where characters are running for their lives, a hair’s length away from being devoured by the living dead, there’s no sense of urgency. By no means is it boring, but, and going with its theme, it feels like the bloodiest game of tag anyone’s ever hosted.

I get that at this point, media about the walking dead is redundant. You make one zombie movie, you’ve made the rest. You’ve seen one then you’ve seen ’em all. Despite the predictability of Little Monsters, it held my attention for an hour. It’s meet-cute sprinkled in with gratuitous amounts of gore, so if that’s your idea of a good time, Little Monsters is on Hulu right now.