Cathartic Gore for Teachers - "Cooties" Review

Updated on April 22, 2019
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

A grotesque and disgusting intro credits sequence shows us the processed creation of a chicken nugget. Since the beginning, when we see the selected poor chicken for slaughter, we know that something is wrong. A viscous, greenish, and rotten liquid is on the chicken's corpse, following the entire process of dismantling, preparation, packaging, and distribution. The sequence ends with a little girl student named Shelly (Sunny May Allison) grossly biting the infected nugget.

We already know where this is going.

Cooties is a perfect title for this movie. Used as a tag game and/or as a kid insult, it's the perfect link between children and a contagious virus.

The protagonist is Clint (Elijah Wood), a substitute teacher and aspiring writer who has returned to his hometown of Fort Chicken in Illinois to try to finish his horror novel, while earning a few dollars making substitutions in summer school, at the same high school where he studied as a kid.

There, Clint reconnects with his old crush Lucy McCormick (Alison Pill), now a teacher. Wade (Rainn Wilson) is the classic redneck douchy PE teacher and Lucy's boyfriend. Doug (Leigh Whannell) is another teacher with serious problems about socializing, but with some great random specific knowledge about viruses and pandemics.

Rebekkah (Nasim Pedrad) is a very conservative and rigid teacher, who has an anti-rape alarm that is activated as soon as someone touches her. Jorge Garcia plays a shroom addicted "dude", Ian Brennan is a condescending vice principal and Peter Kwong is an Asian janitor who knows martial arts because racism.

This group of teachers will have to deal with the virus contracted by Shelly, which manifests itself first with facial blisters and red eyes, and then ends up turning the kid into a feral cannibal. In the recess hour, Shelly ends up infecting practically all the children, turning the story into a battle between healthy teachers and infected students.

In addition, the lines are clearly marked; the virus is only spread among humans who have not yet gone through puberty. So teachers won't get infected. They should only make sure not to be devoured by the small creatures.

Cooties has to be US elementary school teachers' favorite movie. It's a cathartic cartoonish tale of the ungrateful process of dealing with dozens of children and trying to educate them. I can clearly imagine thousands of professors laughing hysterically—under the frightened look of others—at scenes like the one when a child is beaten to death with a bat or another one where they use a truck to drag an infected kid on the asphalt.

Cooties looks perfectly like the product of its two screenwriters. Leigh Whannell is the creator of the Saw saga and Ian Brennan is the creator of the TV show Glee. Therefore, Cooties is gore and dark humor in an explosively colorful high school context. And that contrast is precisely its strong point.

The special effects are very well achieved. The CGI blood may look somewhat false at times, but the rest of the effects have a high level. There is particularly a great visual effect towards the end, in which a child loses his jaw. I still don't know if that was makeup, CGI or a mixture of both. That's a really good special effect right there.

The cast is the other big reason why Cooties is an entertaining experience. Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson are household names in projects that require comedy and drama. Alison Pill has less experience but her work in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The Newsroom speaks volume. Here, she is the perfect vertex in the love triangle. The same Leigh Whannell—who also has an acting career, being his role of "Specs" in Insidious—plays a hilarious character, as does Ian Brennan.

The rest of the cast is of great quality, but their characters feel underutilized. Nasim Pedrad, for example, is a fantastic comedy actress, but her role is quite minor. And you can say the same for Jack McBrayer, Kate Flannery, and Jorge Garcia.

What's Your Rating For Cooties?

See results

Unfortunately, Cooties don't take the time to develop their characters or at least generate interesting arcs. In fact, it evades what organically should have happened with the protagonist trio just to—I suppose—avoid being "predictable".

It doesn't make sense to generate a love story between Clint and Lucy, only for Wade to end up staying with the girl. If Wade were the protagonist of this story (and I could actually see that movie), that ending would have been perfect because he's perhaps the only character that really makes a major change in his life.

Cooties won't become a classic, but its setting is quite original and its execution has very good quality. Sometimes we demand just too much.

Movie Details

Title: Cooties

Release Year: 2014

Director(s): Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion

Actors: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, a.o.

3 stars for Cooties

© 2019 Sam Shepards

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)