Little Monsters

A pretty bad zombie movie recently released on Hulu that has some really nice moments, but is ultimately not very good.

The story follows a slacker who loses his girlfriend. He moves in with his sister and her son. He takes the son on a field trip in order to hit on and hookup with the kindergarten teacher. Unfortunately a zombie outbreak attacks the field trip and all hell breaks loose.

The movie is billed as a zombie comedy. There are zombies and there are attempts at comedy. Some attempts work really well. There is a very funny bit where the heroes are riding in a very slow moving tractor trying to outrun the slightly slower shuffling zombies. It’s basically the slowest chase scene ever filmed. The boy who plays the son is absolutely adorable. He likes to dress up as Darth Vader and stay in character. His gruff Vader voice is delightful.

However the other attempts at humor are crass, crude, vulgar, stupid, and terribly executed. The field trip was to see Mr. McGiggles perform. McGiggles is a Barney-Esque children’s performer who in real life is of course a foul mouthed jerk who locks kids outside to be eaten by zombies while screaming profanities at them. This irony of a kids performer being mean has been done a million times before. It was barely funny before, here its lack of humor is amplified by the abject cruelty of a man who wants kids to get eaten by zombies.

All the men in this movie are terrible people. McGiggles is horrible. The lead is mean spirited and careless and at times disgusting. He doesn’t care at all about his nephew until late in the movie. He is a jerk to his sister. He is cruel and verbally abusive to his ex girlfriend in their few scenes together. It feels like the filmmakers realized their hero was an intolerable jerk, so once the zombies pop up, he transforms into a nice guy with a tortured past who just wants to save his nephew. The change is unnatural and is not earned.

Baked within this movie underneath the bad characters and juvenile humor is a great story about a kindergarten teacher who has to keep her class safe during a zombie outbreak. Lupus Nyong’o plays the teacher. She is strong, clever, determined, and caring. Watching her navigate this impossible situation with 20 kids in tow is exciting and interesting. She is also completely believable as a teacher. She appears to have a genuine bond with the kids. She is really good in a movie that doesn’t deserve her.

On a personal note, this movie also reinforced my feelings that zombies aren’t scary. The number of times characters were able to escape the zombies here simply by running totally zaps any fear they could create. Why does anyone ever get eaten? They are slow and can easily be pushed over. Just run or knock them down and you’ll be fine in the apocalypse.

So weighing the good and the bad, I don’t regret watching it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It’s not really my cup of tea. C

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