Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Sundance ’14: Cooties
who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach at public schools. So
then, what are the chances of a misfit Ft. Chicken Elementary summer school
faculty surviving a juvenile mutant attack? Not great, but at least there will
be plenty of gory humor in Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion’s Cooties, which screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
novelist Clint Hadson has moved back to his mother’s house in Fort Chicken and
accepted a position teaching English at his old elementary school. To make
matters more depressing, his old high school crush and her jealous gym teacher
boy friend are also on the Ft. Chicken faculty. Hadson wants to be the cool
teacher, who lets his students call him by his first name, but these kids are
real hellions—and that is before contaminated chicken nuggets turn them into rampaging
zombie death machines.
little monsters like to bite and they are definitely contagious, but their
viral brain rot only affects those who have not yet gone through puberty. In no
time at all, the rabid kids have overrun the school. Hadson, his maladjusted
colleagues, and a handful uninfected students hole-up, hoping help will come at
3:00, when parents start arriving to pick up their brood.
you enjoy humor derived from splattered brains and guts then Cooties is in your power zone. Co-writers
Ian Brennan and Leigh Whannel keep the shameless gags coming at a regular pace.
However, the conspicuous narrative similarities between Cooties and Return to Nuke ‘Em High are distractingly awkward.
Cribbing Troma—get your head around that one.
Wood’s nebbish everyman shtick works well enough for Hadson and he delivers
some amusing lines here and there (partly redeeming his role in the dour
travesty of Maniac). Whannel probably
gets the biggest laughs as the socially inept sex ed. teacher, but nobody tries
harder than Rainn Wilson, unleashing his inner Will Farrell as the
past-his-prime P.E. teacher.
Horror movie fans will chuckle at Cooties, but there is nothing here they
have not seen before, even if they have not yet revisited Nuke ‘Em High. For epic gross-out humor, it cannot compete with its
fellow midnight selection, Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead, but both were picked up for distribution, so they were both
winners at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Labels: Horror Movies, Sundance '14