Cooties (2014)

(On Cable TV, May 2016) Cooties’ big concept is simple, revolting and funny at once: What if only kids carried a zombie epidemic, and what if our heroes were besieged high-school teachers? By the time the faculty is viciously killing their pre-teen charges, feel free to be disgusted or darkly amused by it all—the film has already gone too far to care. Elijah Woods stars as the nebbish protagonist (in an interesting reversal from his turn as a student battling possessed teachers in The Faculty), with a few comic actors in other supporting roles. The limits of the budget often show (most notably in not offering a wider view of the carnage once it gets going) but the writing isn’t bad and the film does manage to hit many of its intended targets. It’s relatively successful, in fact, at minimizing the gross-out factors of a story in which adults kill kids—while it still feels wrong, it’s more transgressive than unacceptable, which is the tricky moral balance that the film had to meet in order to work at all. This being said, the best audience for Cooties remains the dark-laughter horror crowd, especially those who don’t mind yet another low-budget zombie comedy.

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