David Anderson is not known for his good decisions, in fact, he’s barely known at all, having missed his chance at fame when his stadium rock/death metal band God’s Sledgehammer broke up years ago, and having forgotten his girlfriend’s birthday for eight years running it looks like he is breaking up with her too, though all it will mean is they’ll no long be endlessly arguing about her wanting him to settle down and father a child with her.
Finding himself having to stay with his older sister Tess and her five year old tractor obsessed son and his numerous deadly allergies, Dave fails to modify his sloppy behaviour, introducing Felix to violent video games and taking him on late night excursions without his mother’s knowledge or consent, but his penance may see him turning over a new leaf.
Charged with taking Felix to school, Dave is so entranced by ukulele playing kindergarten teacher Miss Audrey Caroline that he volunteers to join them as chaperone on the field trip to the Pleasant Valley Farm, a petting zoo hosted by Teddy McGiggle, a children’s entertainer and television personality only slightly less toxic than the zombies which have just breached containment at the neighbouring army facility.
Written and directed by former child actor Abe Forsythe, now linked with RoboCop Returns which can only indicate an unexpected direction for that recently announced sequel, Little Monsters is an over-the-top horror comedy of bad language, bad behaviour, bad eating habits and the school trip to hell as Miss Caroline (Black Panther‘s Lupita Nyong’o) puts on a brave face and tries to convince the children it’s all a game in order to protect them from the infected flesh-eating truth.
A teacher, accustomed to making do with what she has to hand and coping the demands of a clutch of energised toddlers, Miss Caroline is calm, aware, kind and radiant; having unwittingly taken the children into danger, she will risk all to keep them out of harm’s way in somewhat trying circumstances.
In contrast, Dave (Alien: Covenant‘s Alexander England) is initially a bigger child than Felix, a crass, directionless slacker who lacks any form of impulse control, but still he manages to be more use than Teddy McGiggle (Murder on the Orient Express‘ Josh Gad) whose only concern is keeping himself safe and drunk until help arrives.
Built around clashes and contrasts, between Miss Caroline’s dedication and unexpected zombie-slaying efficiency and Dave’s habit of winging it in the moment, between the hungry horde in need of constant monitoring and the living dead outside, between the graphic disembowelments and the dialogue which is entirely inappropriate for children, despite the slow zombies Little Monsters moves fast enough to avoid the traps which undermine some mashups.
Carried by genuinely endearing performances from England and the effortlessly brilliant Nyong’o who can now add singing to her already impressive resume, Little Monsters can shamble proudly alongside Wyrmwood and It Stains the Sand Red as a successful demonstration that, just occasionally, the overdone and tired zombie genre can still entertain.
Little Monsters is available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download from Monday 10th February from Altitude