10th Oct2015

‘Cooties’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad, Ian Brennan, Jorge Garcia, Cooper Roth | Written by Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan | Directed by Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion


We all remember our school years and the battlefield known as the playground. What if the little terrors the poor teachers have to try keep control of are literally becoming monsters though and are ripping adults apart? That is the main premise for new comedy horror Cooties

When failing writer Clint (Elijah Wood) turns up to work as a substitute teacher he has the daunting prospect of dealing with a classroom full of rabid kids. When one of the little monsters bites another though things soon get out of hand as a cafeteria food virus turns the elementary school into a building full of killer zombies, who just happen to be kids.

While Cooties is pretty formulaic in terms of storyline it is the comedy that makes it stand out from the crowd. If you’ve seen Dawn of the Dead or pretty much any other zombie siege movie, then you’ll know what to expect here.

Where Cooties shines is the actors and the script they have to work with. With a cast including not only Elijah Wood, but Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannel and Jorge Garcia you have actors who know how to be funny. All of the adults trapped in the school are self-centred and odd, but as fans of Rainn Wilson would expect he is one of the strangest, and steals many of the scenes he is in. He has some stiff competition against Alison Pill though who is also on top form. For me, I’ll have to admit though that Leigh Whannell’s character Doug may just be the true star of the film.

We don’t get a real explanation as to why he is so odd (something about a brain accident as a child) but this leaves him with a problem not only communicating with other people, but also choosing the right words for what he is trying to say. This creates a character that comes across as slightly sociopathic, as does his actions. I won’t go into too much detail of what he does, because that would spoil the joke. I’ll just say keep an eye on him, because he has some truly impressive moments.

In terms of horror, although we have seen this story in many forms, and fans of gore won’t be disappointed. There is plenty of blood on show, and some of the violence does manage to make the audience feel slightly uncomfortable. Especially in a scene where you do question if they’ll “go there”. For the most part the film does manage to desensitise us to the fact that the teachers are killing the kids in the school, but there is one moment that takes the child murder to the extreme…

Cooties works because it is funny and understands exactly what it wants to be. Horror comedy can be hard to get right, but when the script is funny and the actors are fully invested in their roles things just fit into place. There are not many movies that you can be confident will be a cult hit, but Cooties is one of them. A horror comedy that works, this is a film that must not be missed.

***** 5/5

Cooties is available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download from 12th October 2015.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

Comments are closed.