Ever since the start of the Cold War, when high stakes nuclear warfare and psychological tensions were on the rise, a new kind of monster entered the stratosphere of horrific pop culture. We’ve all heard of the living dead, zombies as we would regularly call them; jelly-fish like humanoids with one sole purpose – to feed on their own living kind. Back in the day, the result of hiding away from humanitarian emergencies for others, through isolation and desperation, became a common societal norm. Even in other forms of contemporary art from the time, we can look back on the work of artists such as Simon and Garfunkel, and notice a few recurring motifs and similarities in their work, towards this very subject. Now, in the modern age of social media and reliant digital communication, there’s more of a fear against radicalized subjects, compared to more ambiguous, supernatural themes. So what does one do with a concept that no longer contains the same thematic depth as it did in the past? Make it comedic of course!
In a similar vein to Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead; Australia has finally made their definitive answer to the ZomCom sub-genre with Abe Forsythe’s impressive landmark feature, Little Monsters. Let it be said, that this film pretty much has everything you could ever want from a genre-picture like this. A slacker protagonist? You’ve got it! Adorable sweet children that you can’t get enough of? Coming right up! Singing zombies? Obviously! Mother-fucking Taylor Swift? You betcha! You’ll be toe-tapping and dancing by the end-credits, with pure and utter delight; mark my words.
Even if the eventual drawback’s from the film comes down to the overly conventional and safe mannered direction it ultimately takes (especially in how predictable and paint-by-numbers the narrative ended up being), the pure delight and unadulterated fun to be had in a packed cinema is a good time, guaranteed! Lupita Nyong’o delivers on all fronts with a humanistic portrayal of a brave kindred soul, alongside her slightly overshadowed co-star Alexander England, who portrays a character you’ll love to both hate and adore. Yet the true underdog of Little Monsters is Josh Gad, who portrays an ultra-meta washed up, alcoholic, nymphomaniac children’s entertainer. I guess all that fame taken in from the limelight for Disney, ultimately took a toll on his acting career!
Morbidly hilarious and consistently timely and relevant, Little Monsters is a feel-good romp that will leave an impression on the most squeamish of viewers with a good mood. While it does trek familiar territory, especially in terms of it’s accustomed under-cooked plot; the grand appeal and sensational performances which emits from this indie gem, will certainly make up for some loose ends. Not to mention that the film contains the most scary thing that could ever happen to a child; AN ALLERGIC REACTION!
Little Monsters screened at this year’s Fantasia Film Festival. Neon & Hulu will eventually release the film for a potential 2019 bow.