Streaming Releases: Little Monsters (2019) - Reviewed

Is it just me, or does it feel like zombies have gone a little out of style these past few years? There was definitely a good period there where zombies were the kings of cool. Between 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, and of course, The Walking Dead, they were everywhere, and they were beloved. Now, The Walking Dead is in its tenth season, and I feel like I'm one of the few people still watching, and zombie films are few and far in between. Admittedly, it did get to be a little overkill. It got to be too much. Now, witches have seemingly replaced them as the go to horror trend, quite successfully I should add. Having said all that, it does feel nice when we do get the occasional zombie film because it makes it all the more special for us horror lovers. Little Monsters, (not to be confused with the Fred Savage film from the 80s), is a new zombie film starring Alexander England, Lupita Nyong'o, and Josh Gad. It will undoubtedly earn comparisons to the likes of Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland because it is a comedy, and similar to those films, its success lies in its focus on the characters rather than its undead menace.

While the marketing has mainly focused on Lupita Nyong'o (I mean, she is an Oscar winner), the main character of Little Monsters is actually Dave, played by Alexander England. In the aftermath of a nasty breakup with his longtime girlfriend, Dave has moved in with his sister Tess, and her adorable son Felix. It's clear early on that Dave is not necessarily the most productive member of society, as well as being a less than appropriate role model for his young nephew. Eventually, Dave finds himself volunteering to help chaperone Felix's class field trip, where he, along with their teacher Miss Caroline, played by Nyong'o, end up encountering a horde of flesh eating zombies.

Any good film should get you invested in its characters, but I feel like it’s these types of films in particular where it matters most. There are plenty of zombie films featuring paper-thin characters that exist purely for the sake of being zombie fodder. They also tend to be the films no one remembers. From the very beginning, Little Monsters makes you fall in love with its characters, and it makes for such a richer, more fulfilling experience. It should be noted however, that this film is a comedy first and foremost. Little Monsters probably had me laughing harder than most of the standard comedies I've seen so far this year. Most of the comedy is built around characters such as Dave and Teddy McGiggle, played by Josh Gad. It would be a disservice to count out the large focus on Felix and his classmates however. Little Monsters makes full use of the young cast for both comedic and heartwarming effect. Felix alone should be enough to win over the crowd. Characters aside, Little Monsters is ripe with pop culture references that only serve to enhance the experience rather than rely on it. Nostalgia is so often used to make up for weak storytelling that when it is done correctly, the result is so incredibly satisfying.

I mentioned Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland earlier not only because they are recent zombie comedies, but also specifically because they are great zombie comedies. I believe that Little Monsters belongs in their company. It's a delightful hilarious, and especially heartwarming film that should easily win fans over. It really is unfortunate that this film only received a one night theatrical release. I feel like it would have done great with a standard wide release. Luckily for all of you, it's now streaming exclusively on Hulu. For anyone looking for some great horror themed films to watch in celebration of Halloween, look no further!

-Derek Miranda