I kind of walked in to Little Monsters thinking, I’m about over zombie films. I never thought I’d ever say that in a million years, but I feel like the genre is over saturated. Why would I knowingly go into a zombie flick then? Well good question, but I can tell you that the heart of Little Monsters has little to do with zombies , but more of how impressionable and important teachers are on young children. This isn’t to say there aren’t some great gore bath moments too.
Dave (Alexander England) is a stereotypical slacker. He and his girlfriend argue through a painfully accurate montage as the very start of the film. After their breakup Dave temporarily moves in with his sister, Tess (Kat Stewart), and his young nephew, Felix (Diesel La Torraca). In an effort to woo said nephew’s teacher, Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o), Dave agrees to go on a farm animal fieldtrip with her and the kindergarten class. A U.S. testing facility just happens to be a few clicks away from the farm, which becomes the impetus for the zombie outbreak that Dave, Miss Caronline, and the children must endure.
There are some nice touches to Little Monsters. The addition of Josh Gad as Teddy McGiggle, the quasi foil to Dave, or drunken sex addict/children’s show star who also happens to be at the farm shooting for his beloved television series. There’s a great almost throwaway line where one of the army personnel asks if the zombies are “fast or slow?” Referencing that this isn’t the first time the U.S. has bungled in the rotted face of flesh eaters.
Aussie Director/writer Abe Forsythe admits that this film was inspired by his own child with health issues. The thought of allowing the care giving of his fragile child to a stranger, or teacher, was very difficult for him. He realized that such an important step needs to be taken in order for his child to become more meshed with the world that we learn exists outside of our parental unit at that impressionable age.
The most interesting thing about Little Monsters is the constant reminder that teachers can be saviors and everything to a child, Miss Caroline constantly keeps the children preoccupied with her Ukulele ditties including an ever lasting earworm rendition of T. Swift’s “Shake It Off”. Moments where after decapitating zombies with a shovel, she tells the class that her blood/gut soaked outfit is just “Strawberry Jam”. The children are used as an important device in the film, not what I call the Mercury Rising syndrome, where they are a liability, but really the cute buggers are just oblivious to the harm that they are in which makes Little Monsters very lighthearted and fun.