I’m finally getting around to watching my Christmas gifts and Cooties was the first film I wanted to check out. Cooties saw an extremely limited theatrical release before going mostly unnoticed and right to DVD, so I think a lot of horror-comedy fans may have missed out on checking out this title, too. Peep my review below and decide if this is the movie for you. I know I enjoyed it to some extent.
Cooties was written by Ian Brennan (“Glee,” “Scream Queens”), Josh C. Waller and Leigh Whannell (Saw, Saw 2). It’s directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion. Brennan and Whannell also star in this feature alongside Elijah Wood (Maniac), Alison Pill (Milk), Rainn Wilson (“The Office”), Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”), Nasim Pedrad (“Scream Queens”), Jorge Garcia (“Lost”), Peter Kwong (Ghost Rock), Cooper Roth (“The Goldbergs”), Morgan Lily (2012) and Armani Jackson (“Grey’s Anatomy”).
“A mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages. An unlikely hero must lead a motley band of teachers through the mayhem and nonstop bickering as an uncomfortable love triangle forms on the worst Monday of their lives.”
Now, I’m sure there’s a lot of blow-hards out there that are going to get all sorts of butt hurt over the fact that Cooties is a movie about elementary school teachers having to square off, attack and sometimes kill a bunch of children. In this movie’s defense, this is very clear from the beginning; so if you see this movie and complain about content – that’s all on you. Luckily, the violence towards the little ones is toned down to mature levels and that helps to keep this movie from getting all sorts of fucked up. In reality, there’s nothing too horrific happening on screen. There’s nothing that’ll scare you, make you jump out of your seat or ‘stick with you.’ The horror is only used here as a plot device to move things forward, with the entertainment value relying mostly on the dry, witty, sarcastic humor and banter.
Although Cooties may sound pretty cookie cutter, I have to say that I’m impressed with how fleshed out the story and virus are. Cudos to Brennan, Waller and Whannell for taking an easy concept and making it into a richer story. This helps to make the story more original and will ultimately make it stand out from the pack. Sure, there are a few moral themes and the love triangle worked into the story, but I think people are going to watch for the humor. I’m also happy to confirm that the humor isn’t toilet humor like what you’d get from the Scary Movie franchise. The humor is actually funny here. Not laugh out loud funny, but it will definitely keep you amused. You kind of have to wait and watch and take a second to process it before you get the pay off and that’s what makes this movie so much fun. Again, there’s more here than poorly gored up kids attacking teachers.
Finally, I have to say that Cooties is extremely well acted. You should know that already just from looking at the cast list. It was such a good idea to cast comedic professionals in these roles instead of horror stars or generic actors. They really took the material here and sailed with it to success. My favorite was Nasim Pedrad. Having watched her in “Scream Queens” and now Cooties, I think she’s going to have a very bright future ahead of her. Well done, everyone!
My only problem with Cooties lies with price in relation to value. Obviously, I enjoyed this title, but at the end of the day it was a Christmas gift. I was entertained, but I wasn’t in love with it. I don’t think I’ll watch it again, but I’m happy to add it to my DVD collection. All of these ‘buts’ means that I’m not so sure that it’s worth the full price of a DVD/BLU-RAY purchase. I will say that it is definitely worth the price of an online stream or on demand rental, though!