• Cooties

    Released by: Lionsgate
    Released on: December 1st, 2015
    Director: Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion
    Cast: Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Rainn Wilson, Nasim Pedrad
    Year: 2014
    Purchase from Amazon

    The Movie

    The horror/comedy hybrid is a challenging line to watch for even the most confident of films, but thankfully Cooties is a picture which strides more often than it stumbles.

    This makes it even more impressive for first time directors and design college buddies Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, who deliver a film which, although not without its flaws, starts strong out of the gate with a fresh sense of humor, combined with a satisfyingly dark edge. Cooties moves along at a brisk pace as it details the aftermath of a highly infectious, food-born virus which turns anyone who hasn't gone through puberty into a raging, bloodthirsty zombie-esque creature.

    Elijah Wood stars as a struggling writer who moves back home as a substitute teacher. Unfortunately, his first day of class signals the onset of the cootie attack, as the young children-some of whom are already quite troubled-run amuck on campus and trap the faculty within its door. Cooties boasts an impressive comedic cast, including 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer, The Office's Rainn Wilson and Nasim Pedrad of Saturday Night Live fame, all of which get plenty of time to chew the scenery, while the cootie-ridden kids are chewing on anything else that moves.

    Wilson in particular seems to be having a blast ad-libbing his way through the script, which contains some smart, gross-out humor, but nothing which ever gives Cooties the vibe that it's trying too hard to be offensive. There are some jokes which fall painfully flat-see Wilson's recurring joke of not being able to say the phrase "dual rear wheel" properly-but overall Cooties earns consistent laughs, particularly once the proverbial shit hits the fan, and the teachers are forced to fight for their lives against the growing cootie horde.

    This ensemble class of educators work well together, although it's Wilson, Wood and co-star Allison Pill who drive most of the story's conflict home with their semi-love triangle. Other characters, in particular two uninfected kids, played by Armani Jackson and Morgan Lily, have precious little to do during the film's final act, taking a back seat without any real purpose. Still, with the zombie/cootie action flying fast and furious, and the gore (mostly practical, with some decent CGI enhancement) suitably messy, these are small complaints for what is essentially a very fun, R rated comedic horror romp worth a viewing.


    Lionsgate's Blu-Ray of Cooties looks very solid, with nicely saturated colors, all of which pop brightly in full AVC encoded 1080p high definition. There are no audio drops or difficulties in the English language DTS-HD 5.1 mix, either, with every growl and sound effect hitting with the proper impact. A wealth of extra material rounds off the disc, including a behind the scenes featurette titled "Circle, Circle, Dot Dot...Catching Cooties," as well as deleted/extended/alternate scenes which showcase other idea Murnion and Milott had for the film.

    There's also an alternate ending included-which is ok, but not preferred by yours truly to the theatrical ending-which can be watched with audio commentary from the directors. A full length "Cootietary" is also included here, where both cast and crew spout off a fast, loose and fun conversation detailing the film's impetus and production. Finally, a gag reel showcases again the fun this cast likely had making Cooties; here's hoping a sequel will show up sooner rather than later.

    The Final Word

    Achieving a balanced horror/comedy is never the easiest task, but Murnion and Milott proved themselves more than up for the challenge. Cooties is both promising and recommended. Check it out.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      The 15 or so minutes that I caught of this made me laugh more than a couple of times, so I think I'm gonna check this one out. Nice review!
    1. Scyther's Avatar
      Scyther -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mark Tolch View Post
      The 15 or so minutes that I caught of this made me laugh more than a couple of times, so I think I'm gonna check this one out. Nice review!
      Thanks, man! I felt the same. I was skeptical, but glad it proved me wrong!