SXSW Film Review: Little Monsters

With these monsters and Us, Lupita Nyong’o is SXSW 2019’s horror icon

If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing Lupita Nyong’o threaten Josh Gad with a goat souvenir, then you have got to see Little Monsters.

Although not as bold as his 2016 festival-circuit smash Down Under (a movie that unfortunately still doesn’t have U.S. distribution), director Abe Forsythe is still clutching onto his dark roots, which work extremely well in a horror-comedy about bum uncle Dave (Alexander England) and kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline (Nyong’o) fighting off zombies to save a bunch of children on a cuddly Australian farm.

Little Monsters succeeds in its simplicity, and it’s more of a situational comedy than a gruesome-undead-threat film, but that doesn’t keep Forsythe from creating glorious kills. In a moment of desperation, Miss Caroline runs out of the safe zone to grab one of the kid’s backpacks, chopping off zombie heads with a shovel along the way as Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” is sung by the children. (“Got nothin’ in my brain” is the perfect lyric for undead heads rolling; who knew?)

Perhaps the most humorous addition is Josh Gad, who is wonderful in his role as kid entertainer Teddy McGiggle. His sour attitude juxtaposes with the light but powerful Miss Caroline, and the dirty glares she shoots at him as he spews venom in front of the children are more terrifying than any flesh-eating zombie. If you’ve ever wanted to see an overtly obnoxious Nick Jr. children’s entertainer get deservedly beaten to a pulp, Forsythe and Gad team up to make your dreams come true.

Little Monsters brings fun back to the slow, trudging zombie, and is an exciting and often times laugh-out-loud funny film that emphasizes that it’s rewarding to be kind.


Little Monsters

Festival Favorites

Tuesday, March 12, 2:30pm, Rollins Theatre
Friday, March 15, 11:00pm, Stateside

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
The Hidden Cost of Labor Calculated in <i>Building the American Dream</i>
The Hidden Cost of Labor Calculated in Building the American Dream
In the rubble of the NOLA hotel collapse, Chelsea Hernandez's documentary remains relevant

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 6, 2019

Gun-Filled Weekend Prompts APD Action
Gun-Filled Weekend Prompts APD Action
Spring fest unrest

Mike Clark-Madison, March 22, 2019

More by Jenny Nulf
Benedetta
Paul Verhoeven gets historical for his new take on nunsploitation

Dec. 3, 2021

Julia
The life and love of the woman who changed the American kitchen forever

Nov. 26, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW 2019, SXSW Film 2019, Little Monsters, Alexander England, Lupita Nyong'o, Josh Gad, Abe Forsythe

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle