LFF 2019: ‘Little Monsters’ Review: Some Life in these Bones

Having walked out on his disastrous long term relationship, Dave (Alexander England) ends up crashing with his sister and young nephew. Developing an attraction to his nephew’s teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o), Dave agrees to chaperone a school trip to a petting zoo. His plans are complicated by a sinister children’s entertainer (Josh Gad) and a zombie outbreak.

The film is a little shallow and obvious, and certainly not doing anything that hasn’t been seen before. The zombie comedy has always been fertile ground for indie filmmakers and the only twist here is the involvement of children who must be kept ignorant of the situation at hand to preserve their innocence. Unlife is Beautiful if you will. There are some amusing sequences in which this premise is explored with the horrific events of the zombie attack contrasted playfully

What does make the film work are some stylistic flourishes from director Abe Forsythe including an opening credit sequence that’s the highlight of the film. The sequence in which Miss Caroline must retrieve an EpiPen whilst a student is having a severe allergic reaction is also excellent.

There are also some spirited performances. Lupita Nyong’o is excellent as Miss Caroline, who barely manages to suppress her panic and rage behind a pleasant school marm exterior. Josh Gad takes his usual “throw everything against the wall” approach to comedy and some of it does indeed stick. He’s a character reminiscent of Andy Nyman’s in Dead Set but more sardonic.

This is not reinventing the genre but it’s a fun example of it. It’s a black comedy horror with vulgar jokes, vulgarer gore and a heart that’s more or less in the right place, even if it isn’t beating all that hard.

Three Stars

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