The joys of childhood. Who can remember afternoon lunch followed by recess where games of kickball and four square (not the app dammit) and tetherball ruled the kingdom? Another thing that was ever present was the surrounding of germs. In playgrounds across the globe the hands and feet of children have plagued the monkey bars and jungle gyms and you would think that’s ground for some type of bacterial invasion right? Well finally someone has seen the light as Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion combine for the hilarious COOTIES. In this SUPERFUDGE meets 28 DAYS LATER romp we see some tainted chicken nuggets kick off a full scaled zombie takeover that no teacher will survive from. While funny COOTIES does miss the mark on a few things it still comes off as an enjoyable watch with the feel of a demented after school special.
With a cast that includes Leigh Whannell, Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson from the start you know there are great comedic moments in COOTIES. After a young woman eats a tainted chicken nugget she goes full Hannibal Lecter on a bully at school which spreads the virus. I guess it was smart of the writers to make this during summer school as it allowed the population of students to not overtake the small cast. Once the kids were infected they did not become mindless drones just hellacious little beasts bent on eating flesh. COOTIES was a lot of fun even though some of the jokes fell flat and the stereotypes whether on purpose or not were a little less than desirable. The film felt rushed which makes me think that was primarily due to the very busy cast members. Almost every star in the film is connected to some television show even a few of the little tykes. I would have loved to see how this would have turned out with some relative unknowns and a little more depth. Still it’s hard to deny over the top rambunctious nature of COOTIES as it was a refreshing change to the over saturated zombie sub genre.
The most compelling aspect of COOTIES that some may overlook is the discussion it starts on parenting and the school lunch system. If Jamie Oliver got his hands on the lunch program at their elementary school things would have turned out quite differently. What are we feeding the youth of our country? Sadly things like this happen in the cafeterias everywhere where kids are being fed something their parents may not approve of. Luckily for us all it hasn’t turned them into the hordes of the undead but if it was to happen this maybe the ideal setting. Medication, cell phone usage and neglect all get tiny smidgets in COOTIES which really helps propel the film into more than just what you are seeing on the screen. All seriousness aside many will enjoy COOTIES because as mentioned earlier it’s just.. well.. fun. Worth the watch for sure so make sure you check it out on demand or when it finally hits DVD shelves soon!
2.5 / 5
COOTIES is directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion it stars Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad, Ian Breennan, Jorge Garcia and Cooper Roth. It is now playing in selected theaters and on demand.