Australian film, not to be confused with the 1989 movie of the same title, which I reviewed quite a while ago, here. Dave (Alexander England) is a subpar musician who’s just broken up with his girlfriend because they disagree on whether to have kids–he doesn’t want to. He crashes on his sister Tess’s (Kat Stewart) couch and proceeds to corrupt his five-year-old nephew Felix (Diesel La Torraca) with shooty games and swearing. In order to get some time with Felix’s hot teacher Audrey (Lupita Nyong’o), he agrees to chaperone a class field trip to Pleasant Valley Farm, a petting zoo/mini golf course. Unfortunately, there’s a U.S. Army Testing Facility close by, and the latest project has created flesh-eating zombies, which escape and terrorize everyone in the vicinity. Dave, Audrey, and visiting kiddy show host Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad) team up to stay alive.
It was released October 2019, and I’d had it on my watchlist for months. Naturally, a movie about any kind of outbreak is rather timely while watching in spring 2020. What stands out to me most in this context (and in general, because she’s awesome) is Audrey. She’s absolutely determined that the kids aren’t traumatized by their experience, and she has them convinced that the whole thing is really a game. She even leads them in song with her ever-present ukelele. We all need some Audrey right now, telling us that we can make it and that we’ll be okay even though we’re in an insane situation. We all need to be Audrey right now. I couldn’t find any clips on YouTube, but here’s a gif capturing her commitment to getting through whatever shit comes her way: https://images.app.goo.gl/wfftHVjcJ4gCWhm46
Also delightful is Disney darling Josh Gad as foul-mouthed, selfish cynic Teddy. He’s the source of most of the comedy. (Though the American soldiers being stereotypical Americans is pretty great, too.) When Audrey tries to get Dave and the children into the shelter of the gift shop, Teddy wants to keep them locked out. Audrey: “We have kids out here!” Teddy: “Oh! Oh my God, I don’t give a shit!” There’s a poignant moment when, in desperation for something to get drunk on, he drinks hand sanitizer. Oh, when we had Purell to waste.
Dave is likable despite being a typical movie slacker, lazy and unmotivated. He completes his character arc when he realizes that he’s refusing to start a family not on general principle but because he doesn’t want to be a bad father like his own dad. Thus, the answer to his problems is not to be single anymore. (It’s a movie, that’s the solution to everyone’s problems, in any situation.) He becomes a kid-loving, Taylor Swift-singing machine! Audrey in comparison has a lot less character development; I had expected her to be the main protagonist, given that the trailer is all about her, and she’s on the cover, but much of the movie is from Dave’s perspective. However, she starts out practically perfect and only becomes more badass as the movie goes on.
Overall, I loved it. Nyong’o’s singing alone is worth the price of admission. Give it a look if you want something gory but lighthearted.
And here’s one more pic for good measure: