It’s Been a Long Time. I Shouldn’ta Left You
Happy Halloween! Let’s celebrate by talking about Little Monsters. But first, an apology.
Sorry I’ve been gone for so long. Teaching and writing took up so much of my time that unfortunately, the blog suffered a little. The good news is that I’m back with a small review of the brilliance that was Little Monsters.
Little Monsters Spoiler-Free Summary
In case you haven’t heard about the new horror-comedy starring the gorgeous and talented Lupita Nyong’o, Little Monsters is a refreshing and adorable take on zombie movies. The story opens with Dave, a jobless, potty-mouthed fuck up whose girlfriend has had enough of his shit. She breaks up with him and Dave is forced to move in with his sister and her five-year-old son, Felix. While dropping Felix off in kindergarten, Dave meets Felix’s teacher, the beautiful and angelic Ms. Caroline (played by Nyong’o). Dave is immediately smitten and volunteers to help chaperone a field trip to the local petting zoo. Unfortunately for them all, the army base next door has an outbreak of reanimated, brain-eating corpses. Ms. Caroline must fight to keep the children safe while Dave fights to win Ms. Caroline’s heart.
Something Old, Something New?
This film is a cute, not too scary, but totally hilarious zombie movie with a surprising amount of heart in it. We watch Dave go from an immature screw-up to someone who you genuinely root for. As expected, Lupita’s portrayal of Ms. Caroline was the most intriguing part of the movie. It was amazing to watch the juxtaposition of terrifying zombie attacks along-side Ms. Caroline’s merry ukulele sing-a-longs with her kindergarten class. Little Monsters has the hilarious tone of movies like Shaun of the Dead but with adorable kids and Lupita Nyong’os singing.
As I mentioned before, Little Monsters has the feel of many zombie-comedies we’ve seen before. There’s blood and gore all around, but there’s also some ridiculous situations that make you chuckle. All of that is great, but not necessarily new. What is new is Ms. Caroline.
A Final Girly-Girl
Not only do we get the treat of seeing a beautiful woman kick zombie butt in a sundress, but Ms. Caroline doesn’t give up any of her femininity while doing it. Many times, when a woman is self-sufficient and capable of saving herself, she’s portrayed as more masculine. She’s brash and carries herself more like a man would, gaining her more respect than her girly counterparts. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this type of woman. There are many women like this who are exceptional badasses and final girls. The problem is when we equate femininity with weakness. When we do that, the only way we can have a strong woman is by making her more like a man. Ms. Caroline’s character is not like this at all. She is everything you think of when you picture a kindergarten teacher: bubbly, caring, patient, and sweet, but she also knows how to handle a pitchfork.
More of This Please!
Another unique thing about Ms. Caroline is that she is black. I’ve talked before about the lack of black women in horror. This year, we got Lupita Nyongo, an academy award-winning actress in not one, but two horror movies! It was great to see this character kick zombie butt, but it was also great to see her be desired and pursued. The whole point of Dave tagging along on the field trip is to try to win Ms. Caroline’s heart. Not only that, but it’s stated in the film that many of the single dads hit on Ms. Caroline because she’s so beautiful. It was wonderful to see a black, dark-skinned female character be exalted as a standard of beauty in a film. I hope that we get more horror movies where all types of women can shatter the stereotypical tropes of their race and gender. I have high hopes, but only time will tell.
PS: Fantastic News!
I wrote a novella and it’s getting published! Cirque Berserk is coming out on February 20, 2020. I’ll be writing more and giving more information about it but check out the release info here.
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Little Monsters is on HULU right now!
Check out the trailer below: