Director: Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion
Running Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes
When a contaminated chicken nugget makes its way into the lunchroom of a school cafeteria, a virus quickly starts to turn the students into murderous little rage zombies. The teachers of the school become the prime target for these cannibalistic children, and now, vastly outnumbered, the teachers must find a way to survive and escape the school alive.
"Cooties" is a horror comedy with a humorous yet gory twist on a zombie outbreak movie. Clint, played by Elijah Wood, is an aspiring horror writer who has just moved back to his hometown to live with his mom and has taken a job as a teacher at the local elementary school. It's his first day teaching at this new school. Once there, he meets a childhood friend named Lucy, played by Allison Pill, who is also a teacher there. They hit it off quite quickly, reminiscing about the old times and catching up on the present, but Clint learns Lucy has a boyfriend, the school's overly macho gym teacher Wade, played by Rainn Wilson. Wade is the typical prickish jock type who drives, but can't pronounce, "a dual rear wheel truck." The other teachers are played by Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, and Nasim Pedrad. Most of the teachers have strange personality quirks, making them a rather odd bunch of people, meaning shenanigans are sure to ensue.
The opening credits roll over a meat processing sequence where chickens are being processed as we watch what disgusting kinds of ooze gets mixed in with the meat that becomes chicken nuggets. This scene is actually really gross and may make you think twice about eating processed meats. When a little girl at the school bites into the nugget that was just formed and packed and shipped, we see the contaminant squirt out of the nugget all over the place, which is enough to make you queasy if you have a problem watching food being prepared. This nugget infects the little girl with a virus similar to the one in "28 Days Later," which she quickly starts to spread to the other children, just like a cold or a flu would, only about a billion times worse and much more ravenous. This makes the infected kids rage monsters that start to attack the teachers of their school, ripping them apart and eating them one by one. One little difference in this film is the virus only turns children into bite-sized anger zombies, whereas those who have gone through puberty are merely met with illness. This small tweak makes "Cooties" stand out from the rest of the films in the over-saturated zombie market, but how does everything else fare? Pretty darn well, in fact. Most of the acting is great, and it's nice to see Elijah Wood popping up more and more since we really like him as an actor. Some of the dynamics between the teachers are weird, but mostly, every person in this movies has a purpose, even if that purpose is to be a douchebag, like Rainn Wilson's Wade.
"Cooties" has a lot of dark splatter-house comedy in the vein of "Dead Alive." It's not the most perfect comedy as some of the jokes fall flat. There is one running gag that isn't funny at all, which sort of puts a damper on the movie as a whole, but overall, the humor is excellent if you're into goofy horror films. This is still a damn good time for fans of gross-out horror comedies, especially those with an aversion to children. Don't watch on a full stomach.
My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 42%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?