By: Addison Wylie
Cooties hits theatres and VOD at a fantastic time. Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s skittish dark comedy/horror works as great escapism for a post-secondary crowd already dreading more responsibilities, and it’s an entertaining essential for future Halloweens.
Scream Queens co-writer Ian Brennan and SAW co-creator Leigh Whannell have teamed up to make a subversive, gory lil’ number featuring self-centred teachers seeking safety after a virus unleashes itself onto children through batches of skunked chicken nuggets. If that isn’t a literal metaphor for the lack of nutrition in school cafeterias, I don’t know what is.
The students chow down on panicked educators, meanwhile an unlucky substitute (played by Elijah Wood), an arrogant P.E instructor (played by Rainn Wilson), a sunny goody-goody (played by Alison Pill) among others think of plans to escape the school unnoticed and uninfected.
While Cooties only has a couple of big laughs, the filmmakers maintain a consistent string of clever material ensuing in consecutive lively chuckles. The surly screenplay takes shots at ignorant parenting, curricular self-indulgence, and a current society ruled by undisciplined people. A cannibalistic outbreak snaps everybody out of their own self-contained spin, but even the virus has to work hard for attention.
The cast are hilarious team players (with Whannell himself cast as the obligatory teacher who rattles off exposition and theories), but former SNL performer Nasim Pedrad is a key scene stealer. However, it goes without saying, Wilson is the heavyweight champion of hilarity in Cooties. His one-liners and horrified adrenaline towards the outbreak shape his “tough guy” character and point out flaws in his bravery. Jorge Garcia, typecast as usual, picks up an easy paycheque as a crossing guard cooped up in a van, tripping out on hallucinogenic mushrooms the entire time.
Cooties is highly amusing with over-the-top zombie-like craziness, but there will still be movie goers who won’t be able to shake the uncomfortable feeling of seeing kids maimed. Then again, it’s hard not to receive warped joy out of seeing Rainn Wilson use sporting goods to fend off flesh-eating youth.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie