Let’s face it. Sometimes kids are cute. And sometimes they’re snot-nosed little brats. It’s the last type you have to watch out for, especially when their temper tantrums change from wanting more recess to just wanting to eat your face off. Cooties, a 2014 horror comedy by directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, gives us a new and hysterical spin on the zombie apocalypse. What if only people who haven’t hit puberty were effected? Kid zombies. Little, quick ankle-biting kid zombies.
Clint (Elijah Wood) is a writer who left the hustle and bustle of New York to return to his home town of Ft. Chicken, Illinois in order to write his first novel. Needing cash, he opts to substitute at his old elementary school during the summer and there reunites with his old flame Lucy McCormick (Alison Pill), a 4th grade teacher. Getting to know Lucy all over again seems to be going well, even alongside a whole cast of other misfit teachers, including a paranoid creationist Rebekkah (Nasim Pedrad), a super hippy Vice Principal Simms (Ian Brennan), an awkward-duck Science teacher named Doug (Leigh Whannell), the flamboyant art teacher Tracy (Jack McBrayer), and of course the uber manly, albeit really bad at it, PE Cach Wade (Rainn Wilson).
It’s just another day of putting up with brats until someone gets their face eaten off. And then chaos ensues. As the virus spreads through schoolyard, the kids are scratching and biting and ripping teachers apart. It’s up to the aforementioned band of misfit faculty not only to survive but to save the children who’ve been lucky enough to start puberty (who thought anyone would ever say that?).
Cooties is a riot. From start to finish it makes sure the audience knows everything that’s happening is wildly inappropriate and does so in a way that shows the writers and directors truly don’t give a damn. Which makes it infinitely funnier. The opening of the film gives a forewarning, which explains how the virus came to be and has made me never want to eat chicken nuggets again. But it’s okay, if that grosses you out the rest of the film is just the icing on the cake. The practical effects were fantastic, but the seller of this film was casting. Each of the teachers owned their personalities and it’s been a long time since I saw a film with such a perfect cast of misfits. It’s kind of like if the Goonies grew up, got super jaded, and instead of fighting off bandits they fought off tiny wild children. Kinda.
If you’re a fan of the zombie genre and looking for something fun along the lines of Shaun of the Dead, then Cooties is it. Even up until its ending the movie is witty, dark and unlike any horror comedy I’ve seen before. It has that perfect balance of light-heartedness and tastelessness that makes it a new favorite in my book.
Check out the trailer below – and once you’ve seen Cooties let us know your thoughts!