Little Monsters

Horror fans shouldn’t trust any review of Little Monsters that doesn’t invoke Shaun of the Dead. The idea of a loser getting a chance for redemption in a zombie apocalypse has a twist here, though, since Simon Pegg’s character was close to being a zombie himself. Alexander England is playing more of an overwrought weirdo who’s downright unlikable. Little Monsters even coasts along just fine as a cringe-comedy about a creep who’s desperately romancing Lupita Nyong’o as the most perfect kindergarten teacher in the world. But once the zombies attack an Australian petting zoo – courtesy of the U.S. Army research facility next door – Miss Caroline becomes the most interesting Mary Sue in the history of fandom. “My job is to protect these children,” she intones to the smitten sidekick who volunteered for the fatal field trip. Caroline then fights to keep her kids alive while also convincing them that they’re playing an elaborate game of tag that involves real commitment and some serious makeup. That invokes another famous film, of course, but the script crams in plenty of lighter pop-culture references. The ending is also swiped from the best zombie movie of 2016. There are still enough original touches (including Josh Gad as a crazed kiddie-show star) to get horror fans mourning that Monsters is mostly skipping the multiplexes before debuting on Oct. 11 as Hulu’s Halloween offering. The film plays theaters as a one-night only event on Oct. 8, and Nyong’o deserves to have her moment on the big screen.