Little Monsters is a Zombie romantic comedy, in a similar vein to something like Life After Beth. The plot of the film revolves around Dave, (Alexander England), who after being dumped by his girlfriend moves in with his sister and her son Felix, (Diesel La Torraca). One day when Dave takes Felix to school, he meets Miss Caroline, (Lupita Nyong’o). He becomes wholly smitten, after this, he agrees to chaperone his nephew’s school trip, to impress Miss Caroline; then zombies show up, and everything gets crazy.
Before I get into my thoughts on the film, I just want to say that I genuinely believe that the Zombie genre is dead, tapped, devoid of creativity. The same story lines and character types are recycled over and over; there is nothing new to say. They should be retired, even if only for a few years, and allowed to rest in peace.
To that extent, Little Monsters is nothing new, the idea of a Zombie Romantic Comedy has been done before, Life After Beth, Warm Bodies even Zombieland has elements of romance in it, so this plot element doesn’t make this film unique. Indeed it is quirky, and by having the child cast be quite involved at times, there is a novelty to it. However, this is just a new coat of paint on a tired, used concept, and there is no getting away from that fact.
The charm of the film comes from Alexander and Nyong’o’s performances. Both are instantly likeable and maintain this throughout, their romance is well done and feels earned, including a very touching rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline’, which may be one of my favourite in film songs of the year. The two actors have chemistry as well and make for a believable couple.
Josh Gad is also in this film he plays a children’s entertainer called Teddy McGiggle/ Nathan Schneider, whereas typically Gad is annoying and brings you out of the film with his over the top performance it works well here. Gad’s character is a depressed alcoholic who hates kids and views having sex with their mums as a way to get back at his child audience. So you can see that the character is going to be the over the top sort. Gad plays him to perfection savouring every second he gets to be on screen; he is most certainly a scene-stealer in this.
My major issue with this film aside from the distinct lack of originality is that the zombies don’t show up until a good 20 minutes into the film; maybe more. Based on the trailers I had seen before viewing this, I thought that Zombies would be a massive part of the film from the beginning, but that isn’t true. The first half an hour shows us how bad Dave’s life is, it drags out his breakup and the fact that he doesn’t try or, care about anything. I understand the film is doing this to show his character transformation later, but it just feels like bad writing; at best padding at worst tediously drawn out.
Overall, the first half-hour is missable, but once the zombies and Josh Gad’s character turn up, the film comes back to life. Little Monsters has very little in it that you haven’t seen before, probably done better, but it has some entertaining performances and an excellent performance of ‘Sweet Caroline’.
Reviewed by Luke