Cooties is a fun and fresh zombie horror that tinkers just enough with the genre to keep it new and is packed with hysterical performances from an excellent cast. In a post-Cabin in the Woods world, black comedy horror films like this one must push the envelope and reinvent themselves constantly in order to remain relevant. Cooties has a style and flavor all its own, and is hopefully a sign of more to come.
- Directors: Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion
- Cinematographer: Lyle Vincent
- Starring: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad
Clint Hadson (Elijah Wood) moves back in with his mother after a failed attempt to live and work as a writer in New York City. Taking a job teaching at his local suburban elementary school, Clint has the chance to reconnect with an old flame. But a zombie virus also arrives at school that day and creates a horde of flesh-eating students. The teachers must band together to try to keep from being eaten alive by their students.
- A Marriage of wit and gore: This film is packed with some of the funniest jokes at Sundance this year. It doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to making comedy out of gore and being politically incorrect in the best way imaginable.
- Kids make good zombies: One of my favorite ongoing themes of the film is how germ-covered, disease-infested playgrounds, schools, and the kids themselves can be. There are a some great shots of zombie kids drooling and with runny noses that’s shot like an outbreak movie, and it really works. Brilliant!
- Cast repartee: You can tell these actors must have been cracking up between scenes throughout the shoot. They have a comedic chemistry that really shines. Great dialogue, in general, and a wonderful cast.
- The Ending: Without spoiling it, I will say I was a little disappointed in the ending, which felt a bit rushed and patched together. It didn’t take away too much from the overall experience of the film, but I think there was an opportunity to do more with it.
Is this film the scariest thing at Sundance? No. But it’s funny, clever, entertaining, and well worth a watch for those who enjoyed films like Zombieland and Severance.