Little Monsters (1989) Review
“Some friends can be REAL MONSTERS. And some monsters can be REAL FRIENDS.”
Synopsis: A boy discovers an incredible and gruesome world of monsters under his bed.
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For those looking to watch Little Monsters with children, a word of caution. Though we have it marked as a Family movie and it has a PG rating, there is a significant amount of monster “gore” makeup at the end that might be upsetting to younger viewers.
“Where there’s a bed, there’s a way.”
Little Monsters also has the distinction of being a movie that adults are more likely to find upsetting than kids. For kids who are old enough, the idea of a monster living under your bed who takes you on rad adventures where you get to pull pranks is pretty cool. For adults who spend even ten seconds contemplating the story, well… let’s just say this movie deserves its WTF rating.
The aura of peril that pervades the first half of Little Monsters is mostly offset by Brian (Fred Savage) being so confident about his world. Though startled at first by monster Maurice (Howie Mandel), his immediate reaction is to MacGuyver a bunch of traps to catch the fucker who’s been getting him into trouble. (What an awesome kid!) But as the movie progresses and Brian explores more and more of the monster world and culture, alarm bells start ringing ever louder for just about everyone BUT Brian.
Unfortunately, the ending of Little Monsters is very rushed and involves quite a few plot points that don’t make sense. Even more strange is that Brian escapes from his adventure having learned no lesson. Horror movies tend to be very focused on morality, whether implicitly or explicitly, and children’s movies even more so… so it feels both wrong and lazy for there to be no moment of truth where Brian has an epiphany.
Despite these flaws, Little Monsters has a lot of charm. It feels like Beetlejuice meets The Labyrinth (with a dash of Peter Pan thrown in for good measure). The Evil Dead-style monster makeup is gross and effective and downright cool, and Howie Mandel’s frenetic performance is impressive. I also enjoyed that Ben Savage makes his film debut here as Brian’s little brother, and that Brian’s “love interest” is a badass sixth grade scientist. I wish the movie had a more solid ending, but it’s still worth a watch if you like YA horror.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: B
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