Halloween Horror Marathon: Cooties

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Each week, Halloween Horror Marathon does some themed posts. We go back to work on Mondays with a recent release. We call it New Movie Mondays. This week, we look at zombie comedy Cooties.

Much like Hell Town, Cooties is a really great idea hampered in the exceution. In this case, the acting’s pretty solid, but it’s really hard to develop much an appreciation for the characters.

After a fantastic opening title sequence, with amazing music by composer Kreng, the movie settles in. Elijah Wood’s ostensibly the main character, but once his character, Clint Hadson, makes it to Ft. Chicken Elementary, it basically becomes an ensemble piece.

It’s an ensemble piece with characters which are over-the-top parodies. The overly-macho gym coach, the closeted homesexual, the man-hating feminist — they’re all there, and none of them are really interesting. As per usual, by failing to develop the characters beyond the surface, you end up with a cast where you not only don’t care if they survive, but begin wishing they’d just fucking die, already.
The best characters are actually the ones who would seem to be the most absurd. Jorge Garcia’s security guard, Rick, does mushrooms and trips in his van for the majority of Cooties‘ running time, and presents some of the film’s funniest moments. Leigh Whannell as Doug is the absolute highlight of the film. To explain why and how would ruin several of the best moments, but suffice it to say, just pay attention whenever Whannel’s in a scene, as he will steal it.

Other than that, though — you never really care about the characters, the jokes not made by anyone other than Whannel and Garcia fall flat, and Rainn Wilson’s shtick as the gym teacher is irritating and pointless, at best. I’m sure he’s meant to be absurd, and thus inspire all kinds of hilarity, but it just ends up falling flat. Wood’s character features an undeveloped personality who’s just a collection of irritating quirks, masquerading as a person.

If you have an hour and a half, it has its moments — almost all of which involve Whannel’s Doug — and it’s always impressive when a director is willing to harm a child. By making each and every one of the creatures barely into double digits, directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott are committing to violating a pretty strong cultural taboo, and frankly, that’s fucking amazing. Good on them.

You can watch Cooties via Amazon On-Demand right now.