08 October 2015

COOTIES (/Slash Filmfestival 2015)


USA, 2014
Directors: Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion


Slightly in the tradition of zombie-kids flicks like "The Children" (1980) or "Wicked Little Things" (2006), successful screenwriter / actor Leigh Whannell ("Saw", "Insidious 1-3") teamed up with "Glee"-creator Ian Brennan(!) to write a silly zombie-kids horror-comedy (focusing on the comedy aspect) about a bunch of teachers who fight to survive against an armada of children who became aggressive and flesh-hungry zombie brats after eating
contagious chicken nuggets.

The screenplay was eventually adapted by commercial-directing duo "HONEST" (Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion) and marks their full feature debut. They both share a cool, distinct visual style and an energetic kind of directing, but when it comes to tension or suspense, they're about as clueless as a bag of rocks...
or chicken nuggets ;)

It also doesn't help much that the script is actually quite mediocre. Although it's packed to the brim with hilarious lines and absurd situations, Whannell & Brennan focused way too hard on the teachers and not enough on the kids, and they also created too many characters that are completely-over-the-top for the sole sake of being completely-over-the-top - which is rather annoying.

When it comes to originality, well: on the one hand, there's the movie's basic concept of why only kids get infected which is as original as it is genius, and it gets explained in an terrifically funny way. On the other hand, there are too many seen-before-hundreds-of-times zombie clich├ęs (someone unexpectedly gets his/her intestines ripped out, zombies scratching/smashing against window...), several supposed-to-be-emotional scenes that not just come out of fucking nowhere, but also simply don't work, your average crawling-through-an-air-vent-duct scene (*yawn*), and... is is just me, or is the opening credit sequence basically just a ripoff of the opening in "Cabin Fever 2"?

The acting / characters is/are a mixed bag, but thankfully the good acting completely overshadows the not-so-good acting, most notably the wonderful Rainn Wilson ("Super", "House of 1000 Corpses") who delivers a hilariously outstanding performance as trucker-beard wearing gym teacher who's unable to properly say the word dual rear wheel ("Dual reeow weeow"), is a huge fan of Jason Patric, calls Eijah Wood's character "a little Hobbit" and delivers some of the movie's greatest lines ("Nap time, motherfuckers!" / "Pleased to meet you with meat to please you." / "Remember that suiting-up montage in every action film? This is that scene!"). Whenever he was on screen, I laughed my ass off. However, believe it or not: almost even better is Leigh Whannell as awkward science teacher. His performance isn't as great as Rainn's, but he has clearly the silliest, yet most quote-worthy lines ("Oh look, carnage!" / "Nugget out of here."
/ "That's why I sometimes use the wrong robot."). Hell, he made me laugh
even more! :-D

Elijah "Frodo" Wood is solid, though his character is an unlikable idiot and his character's Mom is much, much funnier. Nasim Pedrad and Cooper Roth are fun, Alison Pill is almost unbearable and Jorge "Lost" Garcia could have cut out of the movie without anyone noticing. The overall pacing is solid, make-up and gore effects all look excellent, musical score and photography are both just wonderful, and the entire finale (incl. dodgeball, parking lot attack and funhouse explosion) 
is just brilliantly badass.
Final verdict: entertaining, but it could have been so much better.


  1. I will watch this one when it is available to me.

  2. I liked this one much more than you did but I'm glad you enjoyed it still!

    I can't stop laughing at Leigh Whannell's scenes, especially his sudden realization that he wasn't wearing gloves when he touched...something.

    The nugget opening somehow made me crave for chicken nuggets, though. (perhaps me answering my childhood longing to be a zombie? XDD))

    Also...Duo reo weo?

    1. Whannell's scenes were really, really hilarious (especially the Nugget scene), and I also loved everything about Mr. Duo reo weo :D Still, IMO this could have been a whole lotta better...


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