Dir. Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Whether you’re old or young, a virgin of horror or a hardcore veteran, bloodthirsty or light-hearted, everyone has a favourite zombie film. From NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and 28 DAYS LATER through to SHAUN OF THE DEAD and ZOMBIELAND, there is no subgenre as diverse as that of the walking dead and just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes COOTIES.
Starring Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill and Leigh Whannell, the ensemble cast are pit against a schoolyard of child zombies after a batch of infected chicken reaches the school canteen.
This is a no holds barred assault on a school full of children as the teachers battle their way to survival. Wilson’s dim witted gym teacher against Wood’s nimble minded substitute brings more hilarity to the proceedings but it’s the battle in the courtyard that plays centre stage to this film’s heart.
One thing is for sure, COOTIES could have, and should have, been much funnier. Many of Whannell’s jokes fall flat which is a shame as his character deserves so much more. This is a zombie film that’s funny rather than a laugh out loud comedy in the style of SHAUN OF THE DEAD. As events unfold, there’s a heavy focus on the budding relationship between Wood and Pill to the sacrifice of a number of funnier punchlines but there is still a penchant for blood that keeps all viewers happy.
And that’s where the film falls short. While it’s not hilariously funny it carries itself to make its scarier moments more toned down than they should be. There appears to be an effort to cater for all audiences but doesn’t quite find the balance to be it’s own classic.
While fun for much of the journey, there’s very little to keep you remembering this as little more than a hour and half of passable fun which should have, and could have, been so much more.