Fantasia Festival 2019: Little Monsters (2019)

Little Monsters (2019)

little monsters

Director (and writer): Abe Forsythe

Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Josh Gad, Diesel La Torraca, Ava Caryofyllis, Kat Stewart, Marshall Napier, Charlie Whitley

Little Monsters is a 2019 Australian horror comedy-thriller that tells the story of a washed-up musician who ends up chaperoning his nephew’s class field trip in the heart to win the heart of the teacher however little do they know that, they end up driving into the heart of a zombie outbreak.

Between a lot of Taylor Swift‘s Shake It Off and a balance between humor and horror, Little Monsters is a horror comedy that does a lot right. It has to do with well-timed laughs and cleverly maneuvering its script between separating the reality into make believe where the kids are involved. Because the scope is fairly narrow and set mostly in one location, the Pleasant Valley Farm and despite the class of kindergarten children, the film focuses on a fairly small cast and all these elements do it a huge favor. It magnifies each character during the film to give it more space to develop and connect with. Every zombie movie gives its unique twist on the zombie trait (at least it tries), in order to make it stand out in a sea of endless zombie films and here, the reveal comes fairly late and yet, has so much charm to it.

A lot of Little Monsters is pulled together by the humor and how the characters deliver it. The definite star here is Lupita Nyong’o who is fabulously hilarious as a school teacher, Miss Caroline straddling the line between being a caring school teacher as she is sweet and gentle with her class of 5 year-olds no matter how docile or annoying they can be, but so fierce when things start to endanger them, best shown with one of the best scenes between her and Josh Gad‘s character, Teddy McGiggle. To the 5 year olds, this is all a pretense of a game in action and yet, the few children that have their focus all have the unique traits of different types of children in these situations which surprisingly, adds to the humor as the adults try to make sure that little make-believe stays alive.

Looking at the other roles, both Alexander England who plays Dave, the wash-up musician and nephew and Josh Gad’s role of Teddy McGiggle, a famous kid TV celebrity follow a very familiar character trajectory. Teddy McGiggle is a kid TV celebrity and with any rich celebrity is the human villain because of his selfishness and it becomes obvious where this arc will finally lead. As the other comedic role here that mostly delivers, there is one or two moments that the humor he delivers goes a little over the top (but humor is subjective so it may change to the viewer and how you accept Josh Gad’s humor in the first place). Dave is also quite comedic however, his story is more on the touching side. There are some slower moments that might feel a little misplaced and achieve the one goal to pull Dave and Miss Caroline. While unnecessary, it does help to give the character some depth.

Overall, Little Monsters is a great horror comedy. Its funny with some tense moments. There are some flaws but its easy to overlook them because of the overall film’s charm. Lupita Nyong’o’s character gives it a lot of life as she shines being both fierce and caring to spin a tale for her class. The script is well-written and pulls all the elements together with clever writing using music as a fantastic medium of diversion. The three adult characters also creates a balance for where they stand on the zombie outbreak spectrum. As the audience, the movie as a whole allows us to see things that the main characters don’t see especially the outside dangers from worried parents to how the army plans on attacking the situation, making it feel more urgent than the characters feel for the unknown impending danger. Its hard to call a zombie film, even one structured as a horror comedy, touching but somehow, Little Monsters subconsciously does all that.

Frozen (2013)

After a nice dinner with one of my good friends, we decided to stay in and watch a movie.  The spontaneous choice landed on Frozen.  We’re both massive Disney animation fans so why not, right? Plus, I’m pretty behind already with this.  Everyone else seems to have seen it.  I’m feeling a bit left out…

FrozenDirector: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Cast: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciaran Hinds

Princess Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) have been shut off from the rest of the world for most of their childhood lives.  Elsa is about to become of age to take over the throne and all her life, her parents have tried to teach her to conceal her magical powers.  However, a little run-in with Anna causes her to lose grip of her powers and she ends up freezing over Arendelle and causing the inhabitants to be scared of her.  Elsa escapes to hide in the mountains while she doesn’t realize the lasting effect of what she has done.  Anna goes to pursue her and gets a little help from a young ice vendor Kristoff.

Elsa Frozen

Based on the Hans Christian Anderson story The Snow Queen, Disney turns Frozen into a very charming, cute and enjoyable musical piece. I’m huge on musicals and this one had so little dialogue and so many lovely songs to carry the story that I fell in love instantly. I don’t argue that Let It Go is a powerful song because Idina Menzel is an amazing singer and she does a fine job as Elsa.  However, there were many other songs that were so much more fun.  I mean how do you get “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” our of your head? Its been in my head on and off and I’m so glad that winter is over.

Frozen Hans Anna

As with many Disney movies, we have our princess.  In this case, we have the more frequently on screen Princess Anna.  She is the more laid back and naive sister.  She longs to have company after years and years of solitude.  It just makes sense that she falls for the charming Prince Hans.  He’s gentlemanly and sweet and just perfect.  Aren’t we always looking for our Prince Charming? Hans was actually one of the only questions that I’ve made about Disney movies ever. Its a bit of a **spoiler** so skip to the next paragraph where the asterisks come back to signal it, ok? I know that Elsa and Anna have no one so when Elsa runs off and Anna goes to get her, does it really make sense to trust it to Hans, a dude you just met like a few hours ago? I like the guy but I mean, she does have a lot of money and a throne so I just found it kind of weird that there was no hesitation. Anyways, I can see why she did it also because who else would she ask, right? Not “Weaseltown” for sure 😉

Frozen Disney

**We’re back on! Now that I’ve had my little ramble. Whats an animation without talking about the actual art? Frozen was beautiful. Do I need to elaborate? The characters are done nice. The background with snow and scenery, even before the snow, Arendelle looked beautiful.  The colors were used perfectly.  It was just so pretty to look at.

Disney Frozen

Aside from Elsa, Anna and Hans, we have some pretty fun characters.  Our silly character was Olaf.  Sure, he’s fun to see but nothing quite beats how much I love the reindeer, Sven.  He’s just the best ever.  He has all these dorky moments and paired up with Olaf or his wordless moments with Kristoff always brought a nice little giggle out of me.  Kristoff himself had an awesome voice work matched with a great character that matched really well with Princess Anna.  The bickering was thoroughly entertaining and helped me connect with them.  Of course, it goes without saying that I love the trolls and that song they sang is the other song thats stuck in my head.

Sometimes, a movie is just done really well and I love it when that happens with animations, especially Disney ones. Frozen is one of those.  There really isn’t anything to criticize except one illogical moment that I can oversee because this is a princess movie.  In a nutshell, Frozen is a beautiful animation with witty dialogue, fun and funny moments wrapped in catchy tunes and a lovely story that makes you fall in love with the characters.  I am thoroughly impressed, Disney! Awesome job! 🙂

On a side note, before I let you all go and tell me what you thought about the movie, I’d like to direct you to my new segment on my newer blog called Out of This World Travels set for every Tuesday.  This past one was the first and it was to Arendelle. Check it out HERE! Maybe you’d like to join me in some fun travels over there 🙂

Have you seen Frozen? What did you think about it? What song was your favorite?