Movies From the Black Lagoon

COOTIES - 2014, Rated R

By Tom Doty

A bad batch of chicken nuggets transforms fourth graders into rampaging ghouls in this hip and hilarious spin on the zombie flick.

The opening montage depicts the journey ,from coop to cafeteria ,of a chicken nugget. This sequence is frightening enough to be a horror film in its own right and is not recommended for those who actually enjoy their poultry in a deep fried form.

Next we meet Clint . He has just returned to Fort Chicken, Illinois to finish his novel while subbing as a summer school teacher. He arrives to find his high school sweetheart, Lucy, teaching the class next door. Unfortunately she has hooked up with an arrogant Phys-Ed teacher, Wade, who quickly sizes up Clint as a threat.

Clint’s idea of an opening lesson turns out to be a self-serving attempt to tune up his novel. He has the children read it aloud but his story about a possessed boat never leaves the dock. It gets shanghaied by a violent incident when an infected student takes a bite out of a bully.

Recess sees the infection spread throughout the school yard . Supervision is non-existent as Wade spends the whole period trying to sink a basket and quite oblivious to the carnage being unleashed by the swings . By the time he realizes that recess has turned into a mass melee the other monitors are dead and it is time to bid a hasty retreat.

The staff barricade themselves inside while the zombified children roam the halls like pint sized extras form a George Romero movie. They bicker about what to do next but agree that Clint must be quarantined when he reveals he was scratched by an insane pupil. Three o’clock dismissal brings good news. Clint appears to be fine however the same can’t be said for the parents who arrive in time to be slaughtered by the student body.

The teachers whole up in the janitor’s apartment where they learn the outbreak is city wide. One policeman does show up but he is quickly dispatched by the tots who take him down like an unfortunate Gazelle on an “Animal Planet” salute to predators. Eventually they concoct a plan to gather escape materials form the teacher’s lounge. In an ode to ‘Alien” one teacher enters the air ducts and crawls away or help.

It all comes down to a pitched battle in the school yard . The kids are armed with their teeth and feral nature but these teachers are packing everything from Hockey sticks to improvised golf ball launchers. They manage to escape to the next town where they make a terrifying discovery.

This is fun stuff that should help you kill ninety minutes painlessly. The flick manages to have you rooting for the teachers despite the fact that they are a pretty unlikeable bunch of self obsessed clowns. It helps that the script is laced with ribald humor. Most of the performers have exceptional comedic backgrounds. Rainn Wilson (The Office) is pitch perfect as the obnoxious Wade. Elijah Wood demonstrates excellent comic chops as Clint but the film belongs to Leigh Wannel(who co-wrote this as well as the ‘Saw’ films). He is hilarious as a science teacher who is somewhat lacking in social skills .

Fast paced and brimming with snarky humor . This is the perfect antidote to the winter blues.

Bets Lines:

“Since you are all going to be dead soon anyway, I should tell you I hate every single one of you.”

“I might be seeing some of your students possibly eating Mrs. Pederson.”

‘You bit my friend’s face. What are you , sick or something?”

COOTIES – 2014, Rated R

By Tom Doty

Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.

Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.

comments powered by Disqus