Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
November 1st, 2016



Kids, man. You've got to love them. Even when they're acting up, you've got to love them. When the kids turn homicidal, though, that's when things change, and for a view of just what such a situation might look like, we turn to Cooties.

Cooties takes us to the charming small town of Ft. Chicken, Illinois, where a fourth grader named Shelly Linker has just eaten a tainted chicken nugget in the school's cafeteria. The school itself is experiencing some significant drama, including a love triangle among teachers. But before the love triangle can be resolved, the tainted nugget works its will on Shelly Linker, and that's where the zombie apocalypse starts. Now, the brave and conflicted staff of Ft. Chicken Elementary will have to take on their now-homicidal charges...and hopefully keep them contained lest the zombie plague descend on Ft. Chicken, and from there, the rest of the world.

Clever? Sure it is. When's the last time homicidal kids were the focus of a horror movie, spurred on by perhaps a child's favorite food? As we all well know, it's not just a clever idea that makes a good movie, so we have to consider the execution.

And the execution isn't half bad. It's a lot more comedy than horror, but even the comedy is of a darker sort. If you ever wanted a pocket lesson in epidemiology, a treatise on our failing public school system, and a reasonably congruent zombie apocalypse, you'll get it right here. Man, will you ever.

Even better, it manages to convincingly address the "cell phone copout" concept; ever notice that a lot of horror movies could be solved with a cell phone? Thus, you have to find some way to neuter it, and that's usually going somewhere sufficiently remote that there is no coverage. This time, there's a different angle, and it's quite creative.

The ending is actually pretty exciting, complete with 80s movie references and a nice big rolling brawl. It's worth the price of admission just to see Jack McBrayer scream "You Motherfuckers!". It's like finding video of Julie Andrews going on a racist rant or something; it's too ludicrous not to enjoy, at least a little.

The special features include English and Spanish subtitles, a cast and crew commentary track, making of featurettes, a gag reel, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, and trailers for The Voices, American Ultra, Hellbenders, Tusk, and a preview of the Epix channel.

All in all, Cooties represents one doozy of an idea and presents it in a fashion that's often hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking, occasionally hair-raising, and all around metric tons of fun. This is great stuff; find it, watch it, love it.