Thursday, September 12, 2019

Two Sentence Horror Stories: Little Monsters

Kids are more likely to survive horror movies, because they are more apt to believe in monsters and therefore take the necessary survival precautions. Three young residents of a blighted urban housing project are a perfect case in point. They know a shape-shifting demon is preying on children, because they see it with their own eyes in Little Monsters, the latest episode of Two Sentence Horror Stories, directed by Tayarisha Poe, which premieres tonight on the CW.

After her mother’s death, May and her widowed father move into the project, where the sheer volume of missing children flyers posted is distressingly suspicious. Khalil and Marcus quickly clue her in. They claim a demonic shape-shifter with a black tongue and talon-like nails regularly abducts local children, for its culinary pleasure. She is willing to believe, because she has already seen it herself.

Ordinarily, Khalil and Marcus just focus on survival, since all the adults around them lack the imagination and intuition to give credence to their claims. However, when one of the three is taken, the other two launch a rescue mission.

Horror fans could consider Little Monsters to be a strictly serious 2019 updating on The Monster Squad concept, completely drained of camp and nostalgia. The young trio is quite telegenic, but there is nothing precious, immature or cutesy about their work on-screen. In fact, their fear feels very real. Melinda Mo is especially impressive portraying May, a little girl who is still processing her grief while facing an uncanny peril. She is pretty devastating, but she also develops some plucky chemistry with Mikelle Wright-Matos, as Khalil.

Honestly, Little Monsters would possibly rank as the best episode of the entire season, were it not for some dubious special effects. In retrospect, the climax probably could and should have been tweaked a bit, without taking anything away from what creator-screenwriter Vera Miao was getting at.

Regardless, horror fans will appreciate the creepiness of the monster and the resourcefulness of the three monster-fighters. Yet, there is depth to this episode non-genre fans should also respect. Highly recommended, Little Monsters airs tonight (9/12) on the CW, as part of the current season of Two Sentence Horror Stories.