Little Monsters: Everything’s wrong with this Australian rom-zom-com

Review: Lupita Nyong’o is lumbered with a shallow character in this standard zombie apocalypse

Lupita Nyong’o in Little Monsters

Film Title: Little Monsters

Director: Abe Forsythe

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Alexander England, Kat Stewart, Diesel La Torraca, Josh Gad

Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 94 min

Fri, Nov 15, 2019, 05:00

   

Deep into a standard zombie apocalypse, kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o) is forced to venture out from the souvenir shop where she, her young charges and two man-babies are holed up, so that she might retrieve epinephrine for a pupil having a potentially fatal allergic response to crisps.

After several zombie dispatches with a shovel, a blood-drenched Miss Caroline returns with the life-saving medicine and immediately gets back to forced jollity of classroom rhymes (“One, two, three, look at me”) and singing Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. That’s emblematic, or everything that’s wrong with this uneven Australian rom-zom-com, a movie that would be an absolute riot if it were a tenth as much fun as it thinks it is.    It doesn’t help that, as a comedy, Little Monsters relies entirely on adults doing age-inappropriate things in front of children. Enter Dave (Alexander England), a potty-mouthed, failed musician who, following a break-up with his long-suffering, ill-suited girlfriend, has to stay and masturbate on a couch belonging to his sister and her son, Felix.

When Dave takes a shine to Felix’s teacher, Miss Caroline, he volunteers to help out on a school outing to a farm located beside a US military research facility, from whence a zombie plague is unleashed. The survivors are joined by Teddy McGiggles (Josh Gad), a popular children’s entertainer, who turns out to be a narcissistic sex addict. 

To be fair to writer-director Abe Forsythe, it’s hard to find new things to do with this sub-genre some 15 years after Shaun of the Dead. Nyong’o, England and Gad bring plenty of energy to this one-joke wonder, but the chaps are lumbered with crass, shallow characters with little to differentiate them.

The zombies and related gags – the undead are singing Wheels on the Bus! – arrive with a capital ZZZ. And if you weren’t sick of hearing Shake It Off before now...