In the 15 (gulp!) years since Shaun Of The Dead, zombie comedies haven’t just stagnated, they’ve been slowly decomposing. A welcome resurrection of a terminal genre, writer-director Abe Forsythe’s Little Monsters is an uproariously funny Oz-zom-com that puts heart and gags on equal footing.
Alexander England plays Dave, the irresponsible uncle to Felix (Diesel La Torraca). Dave’s just been dumped, and is crushing on Lupita Nyong’o’s Miss Caroline, Felix’s delightful kindergarten teacher. Dave thus volunteers on a class trip to a petting zoo, where children’s TV entertainer Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad) is filming. Alas the US military base next door is experimenting with reanimation, with dire results.
Gut-bustingly funny, and gutspillingly gory, Little Monsters has a lot going on. In Miss Caroline, it portrays the everyday heroics of teachers who, in this case, must protect her class from the mind-melting horror of the situation. Starting as an insufferable wannabe rockstar before undergoing a satisfying transformation, Dave shoulders both heavy emotional beats and some outrageously un-PC lines.
The standout, however, is Gad – Olaf playing hilariously against type as McGiggle, who turns into a contemptible sod the moment the zompocalypse erupts. Dropping c-bombs and biting noses off kids’ faces, he’s clearly having a hoot. As is Forsythe, who deploys an impressive array of practical zomboids, including an undead puppet that features in one of the year’s best sight gags.
There are clear logic issues and the film’s ambitions sometimes show up its limited budget, but Little Monsters goes big where it matters. Monstrously good fun.