Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Little Monsters' (2019)
Reed's new '#1 All Time Top 10 Horror Comedy'
Swinging in to dethrone Shaun of the Dead for my all time #1 horror comedy is Lupita Nyong'o with Little Monsters! The closest thing I can compare this avant garde, absurdist comedy to is Death to Smootchy (2002). I don't review non horror comedy, but if I ever did, it would be Death to Smootchy, which is easily my #1 all time comedy.
There's something about absurdism that makes horror comedy so damn perfect. It's the reason Shaun of the Dead was #1 for so long, why Army of Darkness follows so closely, and specifically what makes movies like Deathgasm and Dead Alive (Brain Dead) so much damn fun. All of those are ranked on my Letterbox All Time Top Horror Comedy list, because of course they fucking are. You could argue the order, but not their value.
So, what makes this movie so damn good? Just look at the damn setup! A pack of children, their school teacher, a washed up metal head, and a children's TV personality, get trapped in the gift shop of a petting zoo, surrounded by fucking zombies! What's truly amazing about this movie is how bizarrely innocent it manages to stay with packs of flesh eating zombies raising total hell. If it wasn't for the blood and swearing, this could have been PG-13. I'm reminded of the Hysterical (1983). "What difference does it make."
However, all the blood and violence is what makes this movie so damn good. Sweet little children responding to a zombie outbreak like a game of tag is just silly and fun. A foul mouthed, mother fucking, alcoholic, children's TV personality, is just icing on the cake. They cram in some romance, life lessons, changes in character, and maturing ideology, but that just adds to all the greedy violence. The acting and dialog is fantastic, cleaver, and funny as all hell. Unsurprisingly, Lupita Nyong'o blows things out of the water and I can never thank Jordan Peele enough for introducing her in Us (2018).
The practical FX are bloody and fun, and in the good tradition of horror comedies, it pokes fun at itself. One of the children even makes fun of how 'fake' the zombies look.
My only real complaint is how long this movie spend on driving home how much of a loser the male lead is. It's fucking obnoxious and it goes on for a good twenty minutes. You easily get the idea in ten minute but it just keeps going.
But to call this movie a must watch is an under statement. You'll watch this and love it, or I'll come to your fucking house, duct-tape you to a chair, staple your god damn eyelids to your forehead, and fucking force you to watch it.
This movie can be summed up by one thing, the damn zombie frog muppet. You heard that correctly. The TV personality Mr. McGiggles has a muppet sidekick called Frogsie. Ol Frogsie gets a fantastic Kermit the Frog stile death, followed by frequent appearances as Frogsie the Zombie. He even gives a squeaky death rattle when he's later shot in the head by soldiers.
That's the kind of setup and follow-through you get with this movie. You want a kid playing whack-A-mole with zombies? You want a child dressed as Darth Vader, wielding a red putter, using the force? You want an innocent school teacher threatening to shiv a fat children's TV personality in a green polka-dotted tuxedo? You get all that and more!
And the thing is, they don't let up on the real horror that's going on around this little bubble of childish play. At one point, the male lead's little nephew has a deadly allergic reaction and there's a really serious life changing moment with deadly consequences. The children go right on believing that everything is a game but they get the idea that they should be scared and that leads to some very real moments. While the movie never loses stride on its ridiculous nature, it doesn't pull any punches either. A lot of this movie has a similar feel to the heavier scenes of Shaun of the Dead. Like when Shaun, his best friend, and ex girlfriend are trapped in the basement of the Winchester. It's an agonizing scene, much as the rest of the movie till that point was side splitting hilarious.
Do watch this movie.