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Film / Little Monsters (2019)

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Little Monsters (2019) is an Australian Horror Comedy zombie film directed by Abe Forsythe and staring Lupita Nyong O, Andrew England, and Josh Gad. The film follows Dave, a down-on-his-luck loser who volunteers to chaperone his nephew Felix on a school trip to a petting zoo in an effort to get closer to his teacher, Miss Caroline. Unfortunately, the United States Army base next door is running genetic experiments that have resulted in a zombie outbreak. When the zombies descend on the petting zoo, Dave and Miss Caroline find themselves trapped with egotistical children's entertainer, Teddy McGiggles, and must desperately work together to keep the children safe and ignorant of the danger around them.


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The film features the following tropes:

  • Action Survivor: The main cast consists of a kindergarten teacher, her class of 5-year-olds, a foul-mouthed wannabe rock star, and a children's television host, and yet in a sudden zombie outbreak they manage to outlast an entire military base of soldiers. Ultimately only Miss Caroline, her class and Dave qualify, however, as McGiggles is eaten towards the end.
  • Adult Fear: Being a teacher with a class full of kindergartners in the middle of a zombie outbreak. Miss Caroline spends the whole film not only trying to keep the children safe, but doing her best to keep them from being traumatized by realizing the danger they are in.
    • Dave must watch as Felix nearly dies from an allergic reaction while Miss Caroline retrieves an Epipen.
    • Felix running through the zombie filled petting zoo to save his uncle Dave.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Miss Caroline gives one to McGiggles after he suggest she give him a blowjob.
  • Asshole Victim: Even discounting his nearly getting Dave killed, McGiggles is an alcoholic Child Hater who uses his position to sleep with moms of his fans. A lot of time is given to make sure the audience will despise him, and rejoice when he gets ripped apart from his zombified puppeteer.
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  • Big Damn Heroes: After Dave becomes trapped on the McGiggles Mobile, Felix sneaks out of the gift shop and recovers the tractor, driving it over and giving Dave an opportunity to escape.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Dave and Miss Caroline get one at the end while the military bombs the zoo to contain the outbreak.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The military successfully contains the zombie outbreak at the zoo, but not without most of the visitors and animals either getting eaten by zombies or killed by the military... But hey, at least one preschool class lives! Lampshaded by the military commander when he asks his aide as he goes in to speak to the parents of the class if this is "the good news room or the bad news room," presumably implying there is another room where the loved ones of all the outbreak's casualties are waiting.
  • Blatant Lies: Miss Caroline tells her students that the blood all over her dress is just jam. Being five years old, they all believe it.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: While most of Miss Caroline's class are sweet and well-behaved, Max spends most of the movie loudly whining about wanting to play putt-putt golf and bullying Felix.
  • Brick Joke:
    • After putting on his Darth Vader costume for the first time, there are a few times throughout the movie where Felix tries to unsuccessfully use the Force. Later, while cornered by zombies in an animal pen, Felix attempts to close the pen's gate with the Force. As he does this, one of the zombie bumps the pen close, and Felix reacts as if he successfully used the Force to close it.
    • Part way through the film, Miss Caroline revealed she use to be obsessed with the band Hanson. At the end, the song playing over the credits is "MMMBop".
    • Max, the class' resident Bratty Half-Pint, spends most of the movie demanding to play putt-putt golf. At the end, Miss Caroline recruits Max to keep the zombies away from the back of the tractor by bonking them on the head with his putt-putt golf club.
    • Early on in the film, one of the zombies grabs Miss Caroline's fanny pack while trying to grab her and can later be seen wandering around with it. At the end, Miss Caroline manages to snatch it back.
  • Butt-Monkey: McGiggles is beaten by Dave and Caroline repeatedly and hurts himself multiple times. Its not like he doesn't deserve though.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Dave's cellphone doesn't get any kind of reception in the petting zoo. He's only able to get a signal when he's trapped on top of the McGiggle Mobile.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Felix's obsession with tractors extends to knowing how to operate them.
  • Child Hater: It's revealed that McGiggles secretly hates kids and his miserable in his role as a children's entertainer. This comes to a head when he goes out of his way to kill a group of zombie children.
  • Cringe Comedy: The opening portion of the film is full of this thanks mostly to Dave.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Dave's father abandoned his family when Dave was very young. This led to his mother having a mental breakdown, forcing his older sister Tess to care for the both of them. This upbringing is the reason for Dave's immature behavior.
    • Miss Caroline was obsessed with the band Hanson when she was younger, following them to Australia when they were on tour. Eventually, her obsession grew to the point that she broke into their hotel room to get close to them. After getting caught, she breaks her clavacal in the escape, and, her family having disowned her for her obsession, she begins working at Felix's school to earn money to pay off her medical bills. Through this, she discovered her love for teaching. She also reveals that her fiancé had cheated in her not too long ago.
  • Death of a Child: Several children at the petting zoo are killed and zombified, with the exception of the children in Miss Caroline's class.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: McGiggles (whose real name is Nathan Schneider, turns out to be an alcoholic sex addict who mainly uses his gig to bang the mothers of children (and he hates children).
  • Devoured by the Horde: Happens to the class's bus driver.
  • Didn't Think This Through: McGiggles bites the face off a zombie kid, realizing what a stupid idea that was moments later.
  • Dying Curse: McGiggles shouts one at Dave as he's being devoured, right after trying to abandon everyone else.
    McGiggles:I hope you die!
  • Flesh-Eating Zombie: The zombies are driven by their need to feed on flesh, be it human or animal.
  • Freudian Excuse: McGiggles put a lot of work into becoming an actor, only to get stuck as the host of a children's television show. Developing a hatred of kids as a result.
  • Genre Blindness: The male security guard at the testing facility. Not only does he go for body shoots on a zombie, he just stands around confused as his partner drives off without him. Unaware of the now zombified scientist behind him until she starts eating him.
  • Genre Shift: The opening half an hour or so of the film is mostly a straight-up vulgar comedy centering on Dave that begins to drift towards rom-com when Miss Caroline is introduced before finally reaching its true genre of horror-comedy when the zombies show up at the petting zoo.
  • Golf Clubbing: A minor example where Max bonks a few zombies on the head with his putt-putt club.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Miss Caroline and Dave successfully convince the kids that it's just a game and they're in no real danger. This means Felix doesn't see any reason why he shouldn't leave to go get the tractor all by himself. He's fine, but only because he was lucky.
  • Groin Attack: Dave delivers one so bad to McGiggles that he vomits.
  • Harmful to Minors: Miss Caroline realizes that her class not only runs a risk of being eaten by the zombies, but also of being traumatized by the experience, which is why she works to keep them ignorant of what is truly going on.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Over the course of the film, Dave comes to realize he was an insensitive, ungrateful, irresponsible, childish jerk and takes steps to become better.
    • McGiggles has one where he breaks down crying about sleeping with a large number of married women and seeing that as the sole benefit to his celebrity status. Unlike with Dave, his doesn't stick.
  • Hypocritical Humor: McGiggles repeatedly pokes fun at Dave's weight, despite clearly being the more heavyset of the two.
  • Incongruously Dressed Zombie:
    • While most of the zombies are either dressed in casual clothes or military fatigues, one dressed in a koala mascot costume is spotted several times throughout the film.
    • The zombified puppeteer of Frogsie keeps the puppet on his arm after turning-specifically the arm he uses to rip Teddy McGiggles to shreds. He usually enters shots puppet-arm-first, which makes it look like Frogsie is the zombie.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Miss Caroline does this to a zombie with a pitchfork, pinning it to a tree in the process.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Happens to McGiggles. The moment after he locks Dave out of the McGiggles Mobile, his zombified puppeteer emerges from the back and tears him apart.
  • Man Bites Man: McGiggles bites one of the zombified children to give them A Taste of Their Own Medicine, before realizing what an incredibly stupid idea that was.
  • Manchild: Dave isn't the most mature guy, though he improves over the course of the film.
    • When the zombies attack, McGiggles reveals himself to be a selfish, petulant asshole with the emotional maturity of a teenager.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Played for Laughs when McGiggles drunkenly bites one of the zombie children and has this reaction.
  • Noodle Incident: The commander of the US forces imposing the quarantine evidently has killed children before. Not that he's proud of it, which is what leads to him allowing Miss Caroline's class to exit the quarantine zone.
  • No Zombie Cannibals: While the zombies happily attack humans and animals alike, they show no interest in consuming one another.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: When Miss Caroline has to go get the backup EpiPen, she finds herself confronted with a hoard of zombies on her return trip. She hoists her shovel, lets out a battle cry, and charges. Next time we see her she's climbing back into the gift shop, covered in blood but otherwise fine.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • The zombies in this film are mostly Romero-type slow zombies, but become docile if music is performed in front of them.
    • This is a Conversed Trope in the film as well. One of the soldiers asks as they are setting up the quarantine if they're dealing with fast or slow zombies, and is grateful that they turn out to be the latter.
  • Parental Abandonment: Dave and Tess' father abandoned his father when they were young, directly leading to their mother being institutionalized for a nervous breakdown.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Miss Caroline uses a pitchfork to pin the first zombie the class encounters to a tree.
  • Plague Zombie: If a victim isn't devoured by the zombies, then they inevitably rise as one of the undead as well.
  • Precision F-Strike: In contrast to Dave and McGiggles, Miss Caroline only swears twice in the film, both times to emphasize her point.
    Miss Caroline: Stop fucking swearing.
  • Promotion to Parent: Tess was forced to take care of Dave when their father abandoned them and thier mother suffered a nervous breakdown.
  • Puppy Love: Between Felix and his "girlfriend", Beth.
  • Quarantine with Extreme Prejudice: The United States forces have this as their orders once they set up a perimeter around the petting zoo. In the end, the commander can't bring himself to give the final order when he realizes that there are children among the survivors.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Dave doesn't do much to help take care of Felix, and has never administered an EpiPen before. When he tries, he screws it up and stabs himself in the finger, forcing Miss Caroline to get another.
    • Towards the end of the film, David and Miss Caroline realize that the zombies can be made docile via music. Dave happily shouts this to the military as they let them through, only for the commander to order his soldiers to open fire on the zombies anyway as soon as the tractor gets through.
    • While the outbreak quickly overruns the military base next to the petting zoo, the military response is organized quickly and successfully quarantines the outbreak to the zoo grounds. Much like Shaun of the Dead, the military actually proves up to the task of handling a zombie outbreak, even if they did start it inadvertently.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The military leader is shockingly pleasant and reasonable for a zombie film, letting the tractor with the kids pass without incident and only placing them in quarantine for 48 hours after.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: While never directly said, it is repeatedly shown that headshots and decapitations will immediately kill the zombies.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: Dave is a wannabe rocker and ends his fight with McGiggles by breaking his guitar over the other man's head.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The female security guard at the research facility. After hearing reports of numerous other containment breaches over the radio, she jumps back in her vehicle and drives off, leaving her dimwitted partner behind.
    • McGiggles tries to ditch everyone the first chance he gets. Running to the roof when he thinks there is a rescue helicopter coming and trying to abandon everyone else when he gets to the McGiggles Mobile.
  • Shovel Strike: Miss Caroline uses one to carve a path through the zombies in order to get Felix's EpiPen.
  • Sir Swearsalot: McGiggles, with Dave as a close second.
  • The Virus: One accidentally created by the United States Army in an apparent effort to create Super Soldiers.
  • Title Drop: The title comes from the lullaby Tess sings to Felix before he goes to bed each night. Dave reveals he knows all the words because she used to sing it to him too.
  • Undead Child: Miss Caroline's class was not the only one visiting the petting zoo that day, and thus a number of zombified children can be seen throughout the movie.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Happens twice with McGiggles, once when Dave hits him in the balls, then again later when he induces vomiting after biting a zombie child.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The zombies are rendered docile by music, even participating in a rendition of "If You're Happy and You Know It."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • We never find out what happened to the one Chinese tourist who avoided being eaten or infected.
    • After Felix briefly finds the baby goat while running to save Dave, it's not seen again.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: The commander of the United States forces who can't bring himself to enforce the quarantine when he discovers the group approaching the perimeter contains a number of children. Though it's implied to be guilt over having had to kill children before.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Dave walks in on his girlfriend having sex with a co-worker. Doesn't go well for him.
    • Miss Caroline reveals that she broke up with her fiancee after he cheated on her. She continues wearing the engagement ring to keep her students' fathers from hitting on her.
  • Zombie Gait: The zombies in this film are directly referred to as the slow kind. They are not even capable of climbing over small obstacles.

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