Traditionally, history has not been kind to the genre of horror-comedy. For every Shaun of the Dead and What We Do in the Shadows there seemingly exists dozens of dreary humourless efforts that give the entire genre its unfortunately poor reputation.
Thankfully, writer-director Abe Forsythe’s zom-com Little Monsters has skilfully navigated this potentially perilous ground with huge success, to deliver a hilarious, heart-warming and riotously fun addition to the genre.
The film, which follows failed musician Dave (Alexander England) as he accompanies his young nephew on a kindergarten trip to impress the class’ charming teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o), is a masterclass in tonal shift.
Hiding the film’s true motives behind a classic rom-com formula, only for a spectacularly bloody zombie invasion to arrive, could have been jarring but, instead, is a glorious reflection of the film’s slightly surreal aesthetic.
Although both Nyong’o and England’s performances are worthy of high praise, the show is ultimately stolen by Josh Gad’s disgustingly over-the-top and beautifully debauched children’s TV host Teddy McGiggle, who provides the perfect foil to keep the film’s romance from descending into a saccharine daydream.
In many ways, Little Monsters has it all. Its near-perfect blend of horror and comedy is an utter delight to watch and makes the film a true hidden gem of this year’s Grimmfest line-up.