We always knew kids were feral, but it’s good to have it on film now.
Combining Horror and Comedy has always been a precarious but often hilarious formula. We have classic films such as the Evil Dead series, Shaun Of The Dead and Scary Movie but there are also countless failures such as Scary Movie 2 through 5 Cooties follows in the comedic horror tradition with an all star ensemble cast trapped in a school full of rabid zombie style children. Cooties is packed with awkward characters, comedy stereotypes and jumpscares.
Cooties sees Elijah Wood’s Clint returning to teach at the school he attended as a child. He is met with teaches such as the adorable Lucy (Alison Pill), her jock douche boyfriend and PE teacher Wade (Rainn Wilson), dropped on his head Doug (Leigh Whannell) and Jack McBrayer being Jack McBrayer as Tracy. Unfortunately for all of them, a contaminated batch of chicken nuggets reacting with the prepubescents at the school has lead them to contract cooties. The sort of cooties which makes you dead eyed, hungry for human flesh and impervious to pain and feeling. What follows is a fight for survival as we have come to expect, if you have come to see a new take on the zombie film, Cooties won’t be it.
With a standard formula, Cooties lives and dies on its characters, but even here it only gets a passing grade. Rainn Wilson stands above all others here, his comedic timing moulds perfectly with the deer in headlights approach the rest of the cast take to the action. There is a minor love triangle which forms early on between Elijah Wood, Alison Pill and Wilson, but it really only ever acts as additional fuel for Wilson’s rage laden one liners. The rest of the cast are all passable, there is no demand for deep character arcs and each actor fits their chosen stereotype well. In the end we are here for laughs and scares and we are given both in spades. Whannell’s damaged science teacher delivers some of the best lines but it feels like cut and paste humour rather than anything the writer is doing amazingly.
Cooties isn’t a challenging movie by any means. There is no message, no new ideas, standard acting and just enough laughs to get it through its 90 minute run time without dragging. Cooties is enjoyable for Rainn Wilson’s comedy, Elijah Wood and Alison Pill are both very likeable, but there is something missing that stops it from touching the same heights as the films of Edgar Wright or Sam Raimi. Give Gooties a watch, it’s fun, but you won’t need to watch it twice to understand the deeper meaning.