A mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages. An unlikely hero must lead a motley band of teachers in the fight of their lives.
I’ve been looking forward to this one ever since I read the synopsis on IMDB, and after many delays and push-backs, Cooties has arrived. While it might be easy to dismiss this movie out of hand as just another zombie-comedy (which to a degree, it is), this one proves itself to be worth the watch.
Starting strong with a great cast, Cooties stars Elijah Wood (Maniac), Rainn Wilson (Super), Alison Pill (Snowpiercer), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock), Leigh Whannell (Insidious Chapter 3), and Jorge Garcia (Lost) among the most recognizable actors, and they lot of them are a whole hell of a lot of fun. Each of the actors named play different members of a school staff, and are all (with the exception of Wood and Pill) varying degrees of bizarre. Of course, since the movie is about children becoming zombies, there are TON of child actors in the movie. The stand out one, at least for me, had to be Cooper Roth who played a kid named Patriot and gave me one of the bigger laughs in a pretty solidly funny movie on his name alone.
The story is pretty well paced, though the second act kind of drops off with the characters remaining hidden from the children and working through their own personal issues. I could have done without that, because it didn’t seem to really build up the characters and really brought the movie to a half. A bit too much time is spent on the Wilson, Wood, Pill love triangle and it didn’t add a bunch at all. Though, I suppose it gave a bit more depth to Wilson’s “meathead” character but it didn’t have to take so long.
That complaint aside, the movie is a ton of fun. From start to finish, there is a lot of over-the-top, gross out gore and violence. The opening scene that follows the production of chicken nuggets from farm to little girl’s mouth is pretty disgusting, and really sets the tone for the movie in terms of gag-factor. There’s also a lot of adult-on-child violence, but for the most part it’s shot off camera, though the things implied are pretty grim and weirdly hilarious. There’s also a lot of really funny lines that made the movie work for me. One scene in particular had a nameless teacher yell at our heroes “Follow me, I do crossfit!” before being promptly eaten by zombie children and giving me a great feeling of joy.
The movie is gory, over the top, and a whole ton of fun. It seemed really clear that everyone was having a good time, and you can even (occasionally) see some of the child actors laughing as they are tackled by Rainn Wilson. So, if a fun (and not especially long) horror-comedy, you could do a lot worse than this one. If you need any more convincing, I’m going to share with you my favourite line from the movie, said by Rainn Wilson:
“I’m giving you kids an F… for FUCK YOU!”