LITTLE MONSTER ** UK 2018 Dir: James Plumb. 73 mins
This downbeat indie from busy Cardiff-based filmmaker James Plumb is a modest step up from his amateur unofficial sequels SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT: THE HOMECOMING and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: RESURRECTION. Workaholic dad Matthew Batte is perpetually in the doghouse with wife Stacey Daly and too busy checking his emails to notice his daughter (Isobelle Plumb) getting bitten in the playpark by an infected zombie-like stranger. Nationwide news reports scaremonger about a new “superbug” transmitted through blood and saliva, while the kid graduates from vomiting blood and acting (slightly more) sullen (than usual) to demanding a consistent diet of human blood. LITTLE MONSTER expands upon the Kyra Sedgwick sequences from Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, boldly attempting a sincere, serious story about living with a zombie child. It’s set against a convincingly dreary backdrop of modern banalities: endless supermarket trips, traffic jams, air pollution, text message nagging. It pulls off one decent gore effect when the protagonists’ dire duty to their ravenous offspring reaches its lowest ebb. Unfortunately, it’s also a dialogue-heavy, character-driven piece where the acting is flat and the dialogue often laughable. In defence of the cast, few good actors could pull off lines like “She launched herself at me – like mum’s dog when you drop food on the floor!” The zombie-kid gore is disappointingly played down: the little girl has the mardy look of someone whose just had her X-Box privileges revoked. Meanwhile, Batte and Daly gamely understate the madness of their situation (“Maybe we should go back to the doctors…”). The highlight is watching Daly’s high-octane moaning evolve from chiding her beloved for missing her daughter’s play to complaining about them feeding her a diet of tramps, addicts and prostitutes.
Review by Steven West