Review: Little Monsters (2019 Sundance Film Festival)

Title: Little Monsters
Rating: NR
Director: Abe Forsythe
Starring: Alexander England, Lupita Nyong’o, Josh Gad
Runtime: 1hr 34min

What It Is: Reckless, immature, and lazy Dave (England) finds himself stuck at his sister’s place following a brutal breakup. When eager to woo the kind and optimistic Miss Caroline (Nyong’o), his nephew’s grade school teacher, Dave tags along on a field trip that takes a turn for the deadly as a zombie plague breaks out. Dave, Miss Caroline, the schoolchildren, and an obnoxious kids TV show star (Gad) struggle to survive the apocalyptic occurrence.

What We Think: This isn’t exactly what comes to mind when you come to Sundance. This movie could have easily been a kid’s film had it not been for all those low-hanging “look how vulgar we can be” jokes fired at us every other minute. Which is fine—it’s easy listening. Personally, I sat there in a theatre waiting for it to be over. I don’t remember enjoying it much, nor laughing. Maybe a chuckle or two escaped my lifeless gray husk, but otherwise, I was praying for Gad’s poster child for all annoying flaky, crude (Bad-Santa-esque) characters to stop talking. What holds this film up above your average Netflix original comedy is—you guessed it—the bright ray of sunshine Lupita Nyong’o. Hers is really the only performance that ends up feeling more polished, relatable, and funny, rather than tropey. Other than that and some appreciated production design, there’s not much else I would look forward to in a second viewing.

Our Grade: C, A predictable story, predictable (and often grating) characters and character arcs, this film doesn’t have too many new ideas to stand out of the pool of wide releases today, but at least it has its moments and a fun, watchable performance by Nyong’o.

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Chai Simone Written by: