Dave, a failed, down on his luck musician with a penchant for doing the wrong thing, volunteers to chaperone a kindergarten field trip to a popular outdoor petting zoo park attraction intent on gaining the affection of his 5-year-old nephew’s perky teacher, Miss Caroline. Also at the attraction is an American children’s’ television personality, Teddy McGiggle, travelling the world with his latest stop in Australia. All seems well and dandy until the U.S. stationed Army base adjacent to the petting zoo loses control of the highly aggressive rejuvenation test subjects and are overrun by the lemming of slow, flesh-eating zombies that stagger bit by bit toward the park’s touristy patrons. With every last living, breathing thing either turned undead or eaten to the spinal cord, Dave, Miss Caroline, and Teddy McGiggle must fight against the outbreak for not only their survival, but for the troop of young and impressionable kindergarteners thinking what’s happening is nothing more than a prolonged game of tag before the gung-ho U.S. military sanction of eradicating airstrike right on their location.
The lumbering zombie canon enjoys a delightfully endearing and rousingly tucked zom-rom comedy, “Little Monsters,” with children being the heartfelt conquerors to slay the funk the genre has been stagnantly lingering inside. Written and directed by up and coming filmmaker Abe Forsythe, the internationally collaborated production from the U.S., United Kingdom, and Australia delivers a brashly funny film under the guise of long-pigged zombie horror shot primarily in Sydney, Australia at Centennial Park. Not to be confused with the Fred Savage children’s film of the same title from 1989 that also starred funny man Howie Mandel, Forsythe’s “Little Monsters’” head lopping, guts coiling, and every four letter word in the profanity bible goes to infinity and beyond the parental guidance rating.
Perfect performances all around from a dynamically intercontinental collaborative cast starting off with Lupita Nyong’o. The “Us” actress, who should have won an Oscar for her performance in the Jordan Peele film, astounds again with a delicately frank and beautifully sage performance as the alluring kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline whose number one priority is to protect her class of 5-year-olds, physically and mentally, at all costs. Counter to Miss Caroline seemingly having her stuff together, the raucously detached Dave immediate sets his whirlwind claws right into Miss Caroline, attempting to attract her with disinformation about his stable state of mind and being; however, Dave to the core is a good guy harnessed by Australian actor Alexander England (“Alien: Covenant”) who adds the rough edges around Dave’s stagnant and serrated lifestyle. Though different on the surface level, Caroline and Dave do have rooted similarities that spark romance after some convincing through zombie tribulations and scenario finesse; Nyong’o and England singe around the edge of attraction that’s goes from a seething disaster to being playfully coy and tender that works confidently on screen. When you through Josh Gad into the mix, you never know what to expect in terms of a wild card character. The “Frozen” star pulls off Olaf on hard drugs as Teddy McGiggle as Gad’s voice is unmistakably the overly friendly snowman who likes warm hugs but with a lot more F bombs and a dee seeded disgust for kids show personality that results him bedding many of his toddler fans’ moms. I wasn’t sure how Gad was going to pull off a zombie epic, but his gas-riot performance is a spiked drink compared to other who dances around the children’s innocence and the fact Teddy McGiggle is a kids show personality elevates his crude conduct to that more pungent. “Little Monsters” round out with Kat Stewart, Marshall Napier (“The Beast”), Diesel La Torraca as Felix.
The word from my inner circle of moviegoers, those who have little interest in horror and more interests in fast cars and vast explosions, say something along the lines that “Little Monsters” was “okay,” “Didn’t really do it for them,” or “I didn’t watch the last 20 minutes.” Disclaimer: These people are really not close friends, but barely colleagues, and since “Little Monsters” is being cut down by popcornist naysayers, their opinions have itty-bitty merit awarded to their poor judgement in taste of good, funny, and superbly acted eye-candy horror cinema with pocket messages of insufferable loneliness, hidden internal commonality, and the caliber in what makes us human that piece together as collectively relatable. If these aspects do not register with you, then you’re not human, but rather a 7-headed martian with tentacles and a pea-size purple brain. “Little Monsters” has some good gritty zombies at work here that juxtapose against the tender nature of children and the only thing between these children being lunch are three damaged adults searching for something meaningful. The apocalypse becomes a fork in the road, an ultimatum, that tests their worth and Aby Forsythe bombards that fateful decision with little notes of comedy, witty banter, and a clear case carnage.
“Little Monsters” takes a field trip to Blu-ray DVD home video, and digital download February 10th from UK distributor, Altitude Film Entertainment. “Little Monsters” is a production of Made Up Stories, Protagonist Pictures (“31” and “Lords of Chaos“), and Snoot Entertainment (“Dude Bro Massacre III” and “You’re Next”). Unfortunately, a DVD-R was provided for review so no audio or video quality critiques will be touched up, but the upcoming region B Blu-ray is listed as a BD-50, 1080p Full HD, and presented in the original 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio with an English language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. There were no special features listed in the press release and there were none available on the DVD-R. Finding a way to harness everything sacred from the zombie genre and then creating something new, interesting, and captive from start to finish to blend is a victory melange of wall-to-wall wit and feral monsters leaves “Little Monsters” as the horror romantic comedy that has it all.
With the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment December 12th release of David F. Sandberg’s “Lights Out,” a frightening film that will make you afraid of the being alone in the dark just as “Jaws” did for swimming in the ocean’s water, hitting Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download, there are others to celebrate the darkness surrounding them with a list of iconic horror (and comic book) legends in which the dark has influenced them, has inspired, has empowered them, and has made genre-bending characters the most evil monstrosities in their own right.
As Seen In: Dracula (1931)
From: Transylvania. Though partial to the odd British holiday.
Profile: Dracula (Bela Lugosi) is an ancient-but-charming aristocrat with a big castle and dodgy accent. Likes sucking blood and terrorizing English toffs.
The Story: The Count comes to England for a spot of neck biting, but gets the stake from Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan).
The Dark Side: The sunlight kills Dracula. Or weakens him (depends on which film you’re watching, to be honest). Either way, he’d prefer you kept the blinds shut.
Some Light On The Subject: With his big shadowy castle, fear of daylight, and penchant for a midnight snack, Dracula is cinema’s original “creature of the night”.
As Seen In: Gremlins (1984)
From: Discovered in a Chinatown antiques shop, albeit in their much cuter Mogwai form.
Profile: The Mogwais turn into mischievous green monsters, who enjoy messing with electrics and, erm, watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
The Story: The Gremlins run amok over wholesome town Kingston Falls and ruin Christmas.
The Dark Side: Much like Dracula, sunlight kills them. Even a camera flash sends them scurrying.
Some Light On The Subject: The Gremlins take a classic horror trope – the monster who doesn’t like light – and make it one the film’s three “rules” (no bright lights, no feeding after midnight, and DON’T get them wet – that’s just asking for trouble, that is).
As Seen In: The Silence of the Lambs (1990)
From: Ohio, where he has the most bizarre workshop in the history of tailoring.
Profile: Real name Jame Gumb (Ted Levine), a serial killer who kidnaps women so he can make his his own “woman suit” with their skin.
The Story: Dr Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) helps FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster). After noshing the faces off a few prisons guards, naturally.
The Dark Side: Gumb traps Starling in his cellar, stalking her in his night vision goggles.
Some Light On The Subject: The dark becomes a deadly weapon. It’s masterful stuff, using the viewer’s primal fear of darkness to create scares.
As Seen In: Pitch Black (2000)
From: A planet in the M-344/G System. Science speak for “somewhere in deep space”.
Profile: Species of aliens that live in the darkness. Look like a much daintier hammerhead shark. Dangerous, but no match for intergalactic criminal Riddick (Vin Diesel).
The Story: Riddick and a ship of space travelers crash land on the planet, just as it’s about to enter a moth-long eclipse. Typical.
The Dark Side: Another one that can’t stand the sunlight. Strange that they should live on a planet that only gets dark every 22 years.
Some Light On The Subject: This does for the dark what Jaws did for the ocean.
Anne and Nicholas Stewart
As Seen In: The Others (2001)
From: A dusty old house on Jersey, where they live with their uptight mother Grace (Nicole Kidman).
Profile: Deathly pale and mollycoddled.
The Story: After new servants arrives at the house, strange events lead the family to believe the house may be haunted. Probably never occurred to them that they’re the ghosts.
The Dark Side: They suffer from a rare photosensitive condition – forcing their neurotic mother to obsessively close the curtains. It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep mysteriously opening on their own. Spooky.
Some Light On The Subject: The kids’ condition is a smart twist on an old horror trope, making the darkness a key plot device.
As Seen In: Batman Begins (2005)
From: Gotham City. Which is about as dark-sounding as a city gets.
Profile: Orphaned billionaire who dresses up like a bat.
The Story: After witnessing his parents’ murder, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) reinvents himself as the Dark Knight, turning feat back on the criminals.
The Dark Side: Spends most of his time creeping around in the shadows on tip-toes so he can jump out on the baddies.
Some Light On The Subject: Though not an actual horror character, Batman is intrinsically tied to the night, fear, and darkness – fusing super-heroics with gothic elements. Check out his first mission in the Bat-suit, lunging out of the shadows vampire-like to snare his prey.
As Seen In: Lights Out (2016)
From: An old mental institute, where she was killed in a freak accident while doctors attempted to treat her light-sensitive skin condition.
Profile: Returning from the dead, she’s become a crazed psychotic obsessed with keeping former institute pal Sophie (Maria Bello) all to herself.
The Story: Diana stalks or kills anyone who stands in the way of her friendship with Sophie. Bad news for her kids Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) and Martin (Gabriel Bateman).
The Dark Side: Like all great monsters, Diana can only exist in the dark. So keep those lights very much on.
Some Light On The Subject: Perhaps the most ingenious take on cinema’s of the dark yet. The darkness becomes the monster.
“Lights Out” SYNOPSIS:
“When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out…and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.”
Teresa Palmer (“Triple 9,” “Warm Bodies”) stars as Rebecca; Gabriel Bateman (“Annabelle”) as Martin; Billy Burke (the “Twilight” franchise) as Martin’s father, Paul; Alexander DiPersia (“Forever”) as Rebecca’s boyfriend, Bret; and Maria Bello (“Prisoners”) as Sophie. Annabelle 2’s David F. Sandberg helms the script of “Final Destination 5” screenwriter Eric Heisserer.
BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS
• Deleted scenes
DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS
On December 12, “Lights Out” will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers including; Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Sky Store, Sony Playstation, Wuaki.tv and Talk Talk.
Street Date: December 12, 2016
DVD Languages: English
DVD Subtitles: English SDH
BD Subtitles: English
Running Time: 81 minutes
Rating: Rated 15 for strong supernatural threat, bloody images
Lionsgate Home Entertainment presents “6 Plots” starring Andrew Clarke, Alice Darling, and Ryan Corr (Wolf Creek 2) onto a Rated-R DVD, On Demand, and Digital Download this October 4th!
After passing out at a party, Brie wakes up to a strange phone message: a lunatic has abducted her six friends and buried them in boxes around the city. Each box has its own deadly terror — water, gasoline, insects — waiting to kill its occupant. To add to the sadistic thrills, the killer is streaming footage of the trapped kids on the Internet — and to each other. Forbidden to call parents or police, Brie must use her wits to locate her friends’ six death traps before their time runs out.
DVD Special Features
· “The Making of 6 Plots” Featurette
Pre-Order your copy of 6 Plots over at Amazon for slightly cheaper!