Hulu’s first Original Movie, Little Monsters, featuring Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad, was released this past weekend. Is it worth a watch?
I know. It was hard for me to believe at first too but Little Monsters is the first narrative feature film from Hulu. The horror-comedy will be followed by the Oct. 18 release of Wounds, starring Armie Hammer, Zazie Beatz, and Dakota Johnson. Little Monsters also did well on casting.
Set in Australia, the film is led by Alien: Covenant’s Alexander England, who plays Dave, a failed rock star who loses his girlfriend of nine years at the start of the movie. After he joins his nephew Felix’s field trip to spend time with his beautiful young teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o), things start to go south.
They arrive at a large farm area where the kindergarteners meet Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad) who is a TV personality from a kids show. For some reason, this farm is right next to a U.S. military base. The base is doing experiments to bring people back to life and that’s where our zombies come from. The zombies come onto the farm and begin taking out patrons so now it’s on Miss Caroline, Dave, and Teddy McGiggle to keep them alive.
A lot of crude humor
When I saw the fact that there were going to be a lot of kids around, I didn’t expect the level of crassness that was on display. The beginning of the movie has a lot of these moments and it goes beyond the language that is shown in the trailer. There is some nudity and there are a few sexual situations. Most of this takes place in the beginning as we’re being introduced to Alexander English’s character.
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Josh Gad’s character also gets a bit carried away in the language department later and he also has some of the more graphically violent scenes. I won’t spend too much time on this point, but wanted to make sure there was no confusion based on the trailer.
The movie starts at the farm
After we get past the first part of the movie, where we are shown how horrible a person Dave is, things start moving. First we meet Josh Gad’s Teddy McGiggle and he is hilariously accurate in this children’s show persona. Once the zombies get involved, we get to see Lupita’s Miss Caroline shine as she works to keep the kids from realizing what is happening. She also gets a few badass moments as she fights zombies to save her kids.
However, once the farm is overrun by zombies we also learn about the man behind Teddy McGiggle. Josh Gad’s character immediately forgets about the kids and becomes the worst possible person in this situation. The kids worship him, but once zombies are introduced he’s ready to allow them to be eaten if it means his own survival. His character carries most of the comedy in the middle of the movie.
The kids are mostly props and Miss Caroline’s job is simply to make sure they don’t realize they are in danger. The kids’ cluelessness actually works and allow the movie to be about the adults trying to survive the zombie invasion and the kids simply having to be away from their parents. Every time the kids get suspicious the adults have to find a new way to downplay the funny people trying to eat them. Not having to deal with the kids fighting zombies was a positive move here.
I also have to mention that the fact that they put a U.S. military in this movie allowed them to make fun of American military/gun culture. It’s something I’ve found is happening more often in foreign set movies. It manages to be both funny and sad at the same time.
The last time I saw Lupita was in Us earlier this year. A very different type of horror movie and one that people had discussed her receiving an Oscar nomination for. Her role in Little Monsters was night and day from this one as she plays a bright and cheerful kindergarten teacher. She starts as a simple conquest for Dave, but as we learn more about her we get a full character.
It was nice to see Lupita in a role like this as she continues to show her versatility. She sang, she danced, and she decapitated zombies. Her performance throughout was a joy to watch.
After the way that Little Monsters started, the ending caught me off guard. The movie seemed to evolve as Dave did. In the beginning, he was struggling in his career and relationship while showing no signs of maturity. It was very easy to hate this character. However, when he was faced with a desperate situation and the responsibility of keeping his nephew alive he stepped up to the plate. He also opens up to Miss Caroline about the things that are going on with him and at the end he seems like a totally different person than the Dave we started with.
I won’t say the movie will make you cry, but Little Monsters does leave you with a smile by the end. PS. I hope hearing Taylor Swift songs doesn’t annoy you because you will hear a lot of one in particular throughout the film.
Little Monsters is currently streaming on Hulu.