90 Minutes or Less: Cooties [2015]

“Cooties is a frequently fun, occasionally gruesome horror-comed with a scene-stealing turn from Rainn Wilson.” ★★★

If you find yourself a bit burned out after a longer than it needed to be blockbuster, this is the perfect regular feature for you. As the title suggests, no movie longer than 90 minutes will be covered, so sit back and relax for approximately 90 minutes or less.

Remember the second season Halloween episode of Community (Epidemiology) where Dean Pelton buys a bunch of rancid military food for the party, and everybody gets infected? That is essentially the jumping off point for Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion’s horror comedy Cooties. A bad batch of chicken nuggets causes a school-wide pandemic with students turning into flesh-hungry zombies. Now, it’s up to Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson and an assortment of misfit faculty to save the school and maybe, the world.

The brisk 85-minute running time wastes no time getting going, and the first 15 minutes will likely put you off eating a chicken nugget ever again as a healthy bonus. Elijah Wood stars as Clint, a supply teacher with ambitions of becoming a famous horror writer and a long-standing crush of his friend Lucy (Allison Pill). Despite his best efforts to win her affections, Lucy is dating the P.E Teacher Wade (Rainn Wilson), and he is secretly running for the biggest douchebag of the year award. Once the chaos breaks out, Clint must put aside his crush (and his hatred of Wade) if he wants to survive the night.

Written by (and co-starring) Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan (Glee, Scream Queens), Cooties is a lighter departure for Whannell after Saw and the Insidious Trilogy. Comedy horror is one of the most challenging sub-genres to get right, and Cooties is loaded with neat ideas that mostly work. There is more than a few laugh out loud moments, and just the right amount of bad taste gore to make you feel guilty for chuckling.

Cooties might not be the most original horror comedy on the block, but with a game cast and an insane premise, it’s a little gem worth watching. Frequently fun, occasionally gruesome, laced with dark comedy and a scene-stealing Rainn Wilson. If you’re looking for a zombie movie that’s rooted in the real world with three-dimensional characters, this isn’t for you. However, if you’re seeking a fun horror-comedy that manages a few shocks and a few chuckles, then you won’t be disappointed.

Cooties is out now on DVD.

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