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  • Writer's pictureKelly M. Hudson

Little Monsters Attack!

Dave (Alexander England) is having a rough life. His steady girlfriend has kicked him out of their apartment, breaking up with him, and he’s forced to sleep on the couch of his single-parent sister and deal with her small child, Felix (Diesel La Torraca). On top of all that, Dave is a bit of a Peter Pan, never-grow-up kind of slacker, who can’t get his life together and is pretty selfish. He agrees to take Felix to kindergarten class to help his sister out and there he meets the teacher, Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o) and falls immediately in love with her. He tries to impress her, to no avail, and ultimately volunteers to help chaperone the kids on a field trip to a wild animal park just outside of town. What they don’t know is, the park sits right next to a United States Army base, where secret experiments are going on, secret experiments that have escaped while the kids are at the park, secret experiments that just happen to be flesh-eating zombies. Trapped in the park, Dave must help Miss Caroline navigate the dangers of the living dead as well as keep the children safe from the terrors of the threat surrounding them. They have to find a way to escape the park, and Dave has a plan…

This is a film I’ve been meaning to see for about a year now and it just kept slipping under the radar, getting lost in the shuffle. Finally I plopped down and saw it in my queue and was like, “Oh, yeah,” so I turned it on. What a delightful little movie. First off, it’s funny as hell, England being a pure force of hilarity all on his own. It was surprisingly bawdier than I thought it would be, the humor down and dirty and hysterical. The kids were exceptional in this film, especially Torraca, who was at one moment cute, another moment funny, and another absolutely heartbreaking. And do I even need to mention Nyong’o? As the centered, ever-patient and ever-resourceful teacher, she was extraordinary, as always. The action was superb as well; the gore pretty substantial, and the danger—while always leavened by the humor—was crackling on the edges, keeping the suspense sharp and effective. When it comes to making zombie movies, you pretty much have to come up with a fairly unique setting or situation to put your characters in, because you know what the zombies are going to do and what kind of threat they represent. And they did that with this film. Also, I can’t let this review go by without mentioning the tremendous heart this movie showed. It’s not only exciting on a visceral level, but it touches something deep inside, too. There’s a tenderness here that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

School teachers have to put up with a lot of crap in their jobs; they have to show infinite patience and be above reproach, all while getting paid a pittance. Most teachers love teaching, they love being there for their kids, and Little Monsters is a loving tribute to their profession, to their dedication and love. Add some zombies on top, with dashes of gore and crazy humor, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a small, quiet film that will tug your heartstrings even as it turns your stomach. Give this one a try, if you haven’t. You might be pleasantly surprised.


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