Poster
Look at the poster and treasure it because that’s better than anything in this movie.

Cooties is a massive disappointment on so many levels.

I was eagerly anticipating the release of Cooties, a zombie horror comedy set in a school where the children are the zombies. Even if the zombie genre has you sick and tired (and running a fever and stumbling around looking for brains), you have to admit that is a promising premise. Fruitful ground to explore ways to bend the genre and bring something new to the table. No such thing occurs in Cooties.

I regretfully inform you that this movie is boring and forgettable.

Zombie Children

Not living up to my expectations isn’t such a horrific offense, but Cooties fails to meet any expectations or self-imposed standards. Although there are laughs and worthwhile moments, those scenes are few and far between—practically buried under a mountain of shit that not even Andy Dufresne could crawl through. So many gags or intended jokes fell flat. Sadly, this is a run-of-the-mill movie.

The story of a zombie outbreak is a horror comedy doesn’t need to be remarkable. In this movie, it’s important only as the reasoning for why it is occurring in a school. That’s not the unpleasant part about Cooties. No, leave that load to the lead character, Clint—played by Elijah Wood doing Elijah Wood things. This annoying fuck is an aspiring horror writer and the movie tries to play up the horribleness of his writing, but it obviously feels like it is a gold mine of funny. It is not. It is obnoxious and difficult to endure.

Elijah Wood

I’m not sure why you would want your main character to be so grating. Normally, I like Elijah Wood. But I wanted to watch a herd of feral zombie children feast on him in this movie. Congratulations, you made me hate Frodo. I suppose that is an accomplishment. C’mon, he’s The Good Son! As an actor, Elijah Wood is fine in Cooties. Wood wasn’t given much to work with, but he does his job delivering the sub-par material.

He doesn’t embarrass himself. If you want to see Elijah Wood embarrass himself in a horror movie, then maybe you want to watch Maniac—mostly shot from the perspective of Elijah Wood as a serial killer attacking women and fucking mannequins. On second thought, never watch that movie. Maniac is legitimately one of the worst movies I have experienced. I have no idea why Elijah Wood agreed to do that movie when he has all of that sweet Lord of the Rings money in his bank.

Back to this other miserable pile of shit, the best part about Cooties was Rainn Wilson.

Rainn Wilson

Rainn Wilson perfectly plays Wade, the dickish PE teacher reliving glory days out on the children’s playground. Wilson deserves more respect for his acting chops. At his best, Rainn toggled between serious drama and ludicrous comedy in Super (directed by James Gunn). In Cooties, Rainn Wilson goes full-bore into the role—reluctantly running through children then gleefully dispatching the zombie demon children back to hell. He is a moronic loudmouth and a great source of comic relief.

Why weren’t there more character actors cast as fellow teachers with Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson?

You can’t convince me that this wouldn’t have been a better movie with something like a brief cameo of Betty White getting devoured by the little bloodthirsty bastards. Give me some David Koechner or Keegan-Michael Key to chew scenery. Sprinkle in Kumail Nanjiani as an uptight school administrator and you have an infinitely better movie. It seems like they may have had that intention with casting Jack McBrayer as one of the surviving teachers, Tracy. But then they gave him practically nothing to do.

Arguably the only other entertaining aspect of Cooties was Jorge Garcia as the crossing guard, Rick—watching the horror unfold while tripping on mushrooms in his van trying to ride out the high. Jorge Garcia is a loveable oaf and he’s a welcome break from the borefest that is this movie.

Jorge Garcia

I wish there was more to enjoy, but Cooties doesn’t give you much to relish during its 88 minutes. Unfortunately, the brief runtime could have been even more brisk if we’re being honest. Somehow, it still feels long as fuck. Through the first act, Cooties shows promise before completely falling apart when the children storm the school. You could probably trim the movie down to 70 or so minutes by cutting the characters themselves discovering the spread of the outbreak and subsequent tacked-on ending. It certainly could not have made the movie any worse. This is a cringe-worthy experience.

In retrospect, I was hoping for too much from Cooties. I wanted a goofier Faculty-esque fun horror with zombie children causing chaos. After grinding to a halt in the second act, the only thing I was eagerly anticipating was the merciful end. Cooties is the equivalent of a comedian laughing at his own jokes.

When people complain about the oversaturation of zombies in our culture, they can now point to Cooties as a prime example. This doesn’t even qualify as beating a dead horse. The zombie herd has consumed all of the dead horse’s entrails and its corpse barely remains. Mark this down as another entry in the constantly growing, already bloated genre of horror comedy genre. No one can compete with Shaun of the Dead so we should all stop trying if it’s just a rehash of the same shit we’ve seen a thousand times over.

The worst crime of Cooties is that is simply an exercise in going through the awkward motions.

Awkward Motions

1.5 out of 5 stars

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