“I would have loved to be able to come here and write that Cooties is “28 days later meets Billy Madison”, and I would have been able to had the movie ended when it should have.”
I don’t hate bad movies. In fact, most of the time bad movies can make me laugh more than many comedies could. So when I sat down last night to watch Cooties, I fully expected to have a good time laughing at what I assumed would be a failed attempt at an enjoyable film. Surprisingly, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Cooties is a film about a virus transmitted through tainted chicken nuggets. The virus has ‘zombie’ qualities (although it is more similar to the rage virus from 28 days later if you want to argue semantics) which leaves a local elementary school infested with bloodthirsty children, and a handful of teachers to fight them off.
I don’t think a movie has won me over quite as fast as Cooties did. Everyone (especially people who review movies) likes to say that they can choose to be unbiased but I firmly believe that it is impossible to remove bias from a person. I’m not going to lie, I only wanted to see this movie because I thought it would be terrible. I imagined something pseudo tongue-in-cheek, but still objectively terrible. So as I sat through the first 10 minutes of the film I laughed at all of the “jokes” in sort of a mocking fashion. A couple of minutes later I realized that I was no longer mocking the movie, but legitimately laughing along. The number of jokes in the beginning of the film is astounding and I knew that if Cooties kept up its comedy that the movie would be great. Now truthfully the comedy did die down, but it was replaced with legitimate horror. Cooties is definitely a horror/comedy film not just by name, but because it legitimately has qualities of both of the genres. I was laughing my ass off, I was jumping in fear, and I was invested in the story. All of this worked not only because of the writing, but because of the acting and effects. Of course all of the main cast did an amazing job (and I was honestly surprised at how many recognizable faces there were), but I was more impressed with the children. Of course the part the children play isn’t line-heavy, and there were parts that made it obvious stand-ins were used, but even still the children did a great job at being fucking terrifying. And the effects just amplified the horror, almost all of them being practical. It was satisfying seeing a pack of kids tear into someones abdomen and rip out their guts instead of all of that being implied and off-camera. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end.
What Cooties brought forth in the beginning, it lost in the end. By the end of the movie there weren’t many jokes to be had, and the premise got really repetitive. Had the movie ended 20 minutes earlier I would seriously consider making it one of my favourite horror/comedy films. The problem with the end of Cooties is that it lost focus. The movie gets to a point where you think it will end, but then it keeps going. There is another couple of scenes (that are really redundant), and then it gets to an “ending” point again. The problem is that this ending point isn’t as neat as the last one but the movie actually ends here. As you can tell I’m tiptoeing around spoiling the film, but you will know what I’m talking about when you see it. What is even weirder about the ending to me is that the final line seems to be a set up to a joke, but there is never a punch line. That just makes the movie feel more disjointed than it honestly should have. It isn’t just the ending structure that bothered me, but the way things were handled (so to speak) from a filmmaking perspective. It seems that all of the charm Cooties had throughout the beginning with the practical effects and jokes was lost when the movie took that aforementioned turn into a redundant ending. Instead what we got was exactly what I was afraid of when I turned the movie on. We got a honest attempt at a horror movie that I could’t help but roll my eyes at. The dialogue got a bit to serious (for lack of a better word), the effects got more grand-scale and therefore became shitty CG, and everything just seemed to fall apart. I would have loved to be able to come here and write that Cooties is “28 days later meets Billy Madison”, and I would have been able to had the movie ended when it should have.
Overall Cooties is a hilarious, terrifying, unique movie that was ultimately ruined by its ending. I would still recommend it, just cut off the last 20 minutes.
I give Cooties a B