You Can’t Eat the Teachers, Man! (Cooties, 2015)
Kids are mean. We all know that. Cooties just takes that to the next level. Cooties opens with the most gruesome images possible. Chickens being ground into chicken nuggets. Because tainted chicken nuggets will cause stuff.
Then we meet Clint (Elijah Wood), an aspiring writer making ends meet as a substitute teacher. He has no real heart for it…he uses his class to get notes on his horror novel. In the midst of a reading, the class bully is attacked by by a girl he was teasing, getting a severe bite.
Soon, the teachers find themselves trying to survive in a school of zombie children. They hope to hold out in a room, but this is a horror film. Mayhem cannot be avoided.
And a hilarious massacre it is. The film’s zombie still behave like kids, they run, they jump, they play with grown ups by ripping them to pieces. Just like my nephews. But seriously, the film takes an absurd premise and has a lot of fun with it.
While there is nothing truly original in the setups, the writing makes great use of cliched things like love triangles, absurdly overbearing gym teachers, clueless adults, etc. The film has fun with it’s cliches, rather than hiding behind it to pretend to have a plot.
Along with clever writing, the film is populated with terrific comedic character actors such as Rainn Wilson, Nasim Pedrad and Jack McBrayer. Elijah Wood and Alison Pill are terrific fun as well. And Leigh Wannell (one of the few actor’s known for his straight up horror roles) is entertaining as an oddball science teacher. Oh yeah, and Jorge Garcia from Lost is quite entertaining as a stoner school crossing guard.
Much like Tucker and Dale Versus Evil, the film is quite gory, yet somehow manages to not overpower the comedy. The effects are solid and help sell the horror side of the film. Simply put, I was laughing throughout the film, and was engaged by the characters through the entire film.