One of the highlights of 2019 has been the rise of lighter zombie films that skirt the whole gloom and doom in favor of something more. Abe Forsythe’s “Little Monsters” is one of the most satisfying zombie movies of the year, and one of the best movies of the year. It’s a movie that offers everything from laugh out loud comedy, creepy zombie carnage, vicious gore and grue, great music, and a very touching story of two adults that find purpose in innocent children that need them to survive an extraordinary situation.
Dave is a washed up musician who is in arrested development and is forced to stay with his estranged sister and five year old nephew Felix. In an effort to prove to her that he can be responsible, Dave accompanies Felix, his class, and their teacher Miss Caroline on a trip to the local farm and mini-golf course. While there, they’re oblivious to the rapid outbreak of flesh eating zombies thanks to a botched government experiment at a nearby base. With the zombies growing in numbers and feasting on locals, it’s now up to Miss Caroline and Dave to find safety for the kids and defend them against the hordes of walking dead. Cornered in a gift shop, they have to work together, or risk being destroyed, as the military plans a massive extermination of the infected.
Writer and director Abe Forsythe manages to balance so many themes and sub-genres within the scope of “Little Monsters” and often times I loved the ride of emotions that came with the narrative. Despite the focus being on Alexander England’s Dave, the narrative belongs mainly to Lupita Nyong’o’s Miss Caroline. Nyong’o has managed to become a very strong presence in the horror world and here she’s a brilliant heroine who does everything in her power to protect the small group of five year olds she’s in charge of. Watching Miss Caroline’s evolution in the face of flesh eating zombies is often compelling, as she struggles to maintain her emotions and conveys a relentlessness to protect the children that is absolutely admirable. Dave’s story also amounts to a touching coming of age experience as he learns to embrace responsibility and putting other’s needs over his for once.
Nyong’o and England have excellent chemistry on-screen as two wildly different people that find they have more in common than they realize over the course of this terrifying situation. Dave could easily be the most grating protagonist of any horror movie ever made, but the sharp writing and the way he evolves in to an empathetic hero with his own emotional baggage allows us to root for him time and time again. Movie fans that appreciate variety will love the mix of touching family drama, and creepy zombie carnage that Forsythe meshes. While “Little Monsters” is a human story about family and redemption, it’s also a damn good zombie movie with some excellent make up and gore. If I have a complaint it’s Josh Gad, whose character tends to hinder the momentum of the narrative, despite the laughs he can occasionally muster up. That said, “Little Monsters” is fantastic, it’s a unique, raucously entertaining zombie film that may just end up on my re-watch list in the near future.
Now Streaming on Hulu.