It feels like a while since we had a zom-com, but then like buses, this year has seen not only Zombieland: Double Tap, and Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, but now Abe Forsyth’s Little Monsters.
Starring Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther, Us), Alexander England (Alien: Covenant, Gods of Egypt), and Josh Gad (New Girl, Frozen), Little Monsters follows a failed musician as he tries to volunteer his way into his nephew’s kindergarten teacher’s heart. Heading off on a school trip to a petting zoo positioned somewhat negligently next to a military lab, the junior class get more fun than they bargained for when the infected captives escape their prison and make it over the fence to the packed wildlife park.
Nyong’o stars as Miss Caroline, everyone’s favourite teacher, complete with ukulele and full Taylor Swift songbook, every kid (and their dad) hanging off her skirts. Human sunshine, she doesn’t curse, not even when she watches a zombie in a straight-jacket eat their farmyard guide. Accompanied by little Felix’s drooling uncle Dave, and potty-mouthed kid’s favourite TV star Teddy McGiggle and his rip off Kermit, the unlikely trio, plus a full class of 5 year olds, do what they can to survive the zombie apocalypse from the safari park gift shop, whilst facing some of their own little inside monsters.
The practical effects make it, the zombies shambling and caked in gore – as it should be. They’re of the slow-moving variety, but there’s plenty of them, Shaun of the Dead-esque in their suitably mundane cross-section. It’s kind of what we’ve come to expect from any sort of comedy taking on the cannibal undead, but that doesn’t make it any less amusing, or gross.
Little Monsters is sweet, very funny, and genuinely suspenseful. Honestly, it feels a little excessively crass in places, mostly any time Teddy McGiggles opens his mouth, but it doesn’t take away from the laughs and gasps to be had here. Good gory fun. Don’t feed the animals. Sophie Francois