*. Shaun of the Dead is a movie that keeps looking better in the rearview mirror. I say that for two reasons.
*. First of all, I don’t think star Simon Pegg and (this will be shocking to many) director Edgar Wright have done anything as good since.
*. Second: zombie comedies, which one would have thought easy pickings, have not fared well. Zombieland and Zombieland: Double Tap were both lousy and The Dead Don’t Die was a dud (in fact I gave it my worst film of the year award for 2019). This despite the fact that all three movies had talent and money to burn. Meanwhile, the best thing about Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was their titles. Aside from that they were crap.
*. So I wasn’t going into Little Monsters with high hopes. This turned out to be a good thing, as it’s trash. Even without being disappointed I still couldn’t wait for it to end. The premise is the joke: a zombie outbreak in Australia threatens a kindergarten class visiting a petting zoo. So a juxtaposition of cute little kids and flesh-eating zombies. LOL.
*. The zombies, by the way, escape from a U.S. military base. Which struck me as having something bad to say about Americans abroad, but if there’s any deeper political message I missed it.
*. The rest is just a mess of clichés. The small group barricaded in a building while the zombies mill about outside. The presence of a jerky children’s entertainer named Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad) who’s only looking out for himself. A pair of leads who fall in love. She’s Lupita Nyong’o, a teacher. He’s Alexander England as a dude who used to front a death metal band but who now busks for spare change. His girlfriend just dumped him and he’s sleeping on his sister’s couch before taking her son (his nephew) out on the doomed day trip.
*. I don’t know what was supposed to be funny here. The running gag that has the kids singing out “bad word” at every instance of profanity doesn’t work the first time, and it’s repeated quite a bit as there are a lot of bad words. Teddy McGiggle is too unpleasant to be humorous. England’s character, complete with droopy pants, is too big a loser for Nyong’o to bother with, but when you see them admiring how good they both are with kids and assessing fitness for breeding you know how it’s all going to go down.
*. I’m even more mystified at who the target audience was supposed to be. People who like zombie movies? Unlikely. People who like funny movies? They’d be out of luck. Maybe just people who like kids and singing along to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”
*. As for me, I called peak zombie years ago and I’m starting to despair of there being any life, or life after death, left in the genre. Double-tap to the head and put it out of its misery already.