Cooties (2014) is a horror comedy written by Leigh Whannell (Saw & Insidious franchises) and Ian Brennan (Glee, Scream Queens) and is brought to you by Lionsgate Entertainment. Cooties is the directorial debut of Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion and stars Elijah Wood (The Faculty, Maniac) as Clint, Rainn Wilson (House of a 1000 Corpses) as Wade, Alison Pill (Snowpiercer) as Lucy and as is so often the case with films he’s written Leigh Whannell stars as Doug, alongside the other screenwriter Ian Brennan who plays vice-principal Simms.
This film brings a whole new horrific and comical meaning to the colourful playground term “Cooties”. Now instead of being just a pretend infection game/insult (similar to getting the “Mang” or the “Lurgi” depending on your country of origin), Cooties is a real virus that can and does lead to both hilarious and gruesome outcomes.
The film follows a group of misfit summer school teachers at Fort Chicken elementary school (Wood, Wilson & Pill) as they try to survive the day and not get eaten by their now bloodthirsty students who became infected after eating contaminated chicken nuggets served in the cafeteria. (School food was always a bit hit and miss). They reluctantly band together in an effort to escape the school, using an assortment of items for protection including fire extinguishers, a violin, (“It’s not just a violin, it’s an instrument of death, I propose we create a symphony of death!”) other musical instruments and a baseball gun amongst other things.
Alongside the main plot the film follows an awkward love triangle between Clint, Wade and Lucy which results in behaviour and name-calling that would be more fitting to those their meant to be teaching. Following their escape from the school, they soon find out that it’s not just a local phenomena and that it’s a national pandemic. The film culminates in an explosive, if not brief, showdown which allows the survivors to drive off in to the sunset.
All in all it’s a different take on a zombie film. Anyone can be attacked (or eaten) but only those that have not gone through puberty are subject to the infectious nature of the virus. Despite the interesting idea behind it, Cooties is a bit lacklustre and leaves you (me anyway) a bit disappointed; the trailer made it look very promising. As a horror comedy it came up a bit short on both the horror side and the comedy side. They had the perfect set-up for gratuitous violence against children and yet they didn’t take full advantage of it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a completely terrible film, maybe a 5.5/10. Worth a single watch if you’ve got 90 minutes to spare. Other reviews are comparable. IMDB gave it 5.7/10, Metacritic gave it 49% whilst Rotten Tomatoes gave it only 38%!
And with that this review is concluded, “Nugget out of here!”
– The Eyez 187