Cooties Serves Up Horror, Mayhem and Laughs [Review]


Since the 60's the formula has always been the same, the dead return to life and begin to eat the living. Out of all that time only Return of the Living Dead and 28 Days Later have managed to put their own touches on the genre, invigorating it with new lore (Zombies eat brains and the rage virus). That is until now, where Cooties has managed to put its own stamp in the big book of zombie lore. Cooties mashes up the rage virus and the desire for human flesh into a disease that only affects those who have not hit puberty.  What sets this apart from the pack is that even after turned the children still retain the need or want to play. So even though they'll eat your face and rip you apart, they will still find time to play tether ball with your head.

Cooties begins, after a chicken nugget making montage, with Clint (Elijah Wood), a struggling horror novel writer who has moved back in with his mother and has taken a job subbing at his former school, Fort Chicken Elementary. Clint is excited to see his former classmate and current colleague, Lucy (Alison Pill), but is not thrilled to meet her boyfriend Wade (Rainn Wilson) the gym teacher. Add to that, a foul-mouthed little boy named Patriot (Cooper Roth) and Clint feels like he is working in Hell. When the school breaks for recess, every child is exposed to "the chicken virus" and all Hell breaks loose.

The casting here is amazing. Wood delivers an outstanding performance that I can only liken to The Faculty, even though this time the roles are reversed. Rainn is just down-right funny as only Rainn can be, think The Office but with zombies. Yet the breakout performance comes from Leigh Whannell as the socially awkward teacher Doug. His comedic timing and odd delivery of dialogue is what makes the movie and exposition scenes flow flawlessly. After this performance I want to see Whannell do a lot more comedy, he is golden. Also, props to the kids in the movie. they act their butts off and deliver creepy, believable infected zombie children performances. The movie hinges on their performance and each one delivers perfectly.

The FX hold up very well and, for the most part, are all practical. With the exception of a scene that involves a zombie and a dual rear wheel truck that had to go CGI. It's not the greatest CGI but it doesn't detract from the movie.

The only thing in the movie I could see being a problem for most is the ending. Now, WITHOUT SPOILERS, I'll explain it like this. It ends very abruptly. What feels and seems to be the scene taking us to our final act is, in fact, the end. You can look at it two ways, the ending is flat or it ends that way because in a situation like that there can be no "real ending" (see all zombie films for examples). It's just a sad fact that in the zombie genre you will never have the happy ending where everyone gets away and it's all over. It will never be over.

With that said, the movie is still awesome and it is worth every penny. This one isn't just a rent in my book, but a rent and a Blu-ray buy.

Rating: 8.0/10.0 Stars

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