Theatrical release poster
|Edited by||Brett W. Bachman|
|Distributed by||Lionsgate Premiere|
Cooties is a 2014 American horror comedy film directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion from a screenplay written by Ian Brennan and Leigh Whannell. The film stars Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Whannell, Nasim Pedrad, Brennan, and Jorge Garcia as a group of elementary school employees who fight to survive an outbreak among students that turn them aggressive and cannibalistic.
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2014, before being released on September 18, 2015, in a limited release and through video on demand by Lionsgate Premiere.
In Fort Chicken, Illinois, a batch of poorly-prepared chicken nuggets containing a mutant virus arrives at Fort Chicken Elementary with fourth-grade student Shelly consuming one of the tainted black-dotted chicken nuggets. At that time, an aspiring horror writer named Clint Hadson substitutes at Fort Chicken Elementary, where he is reunited with his former high school crush Lucy McCormick, whom he learned is dating the physical education teacher Wade Johnson. During Clint's class, a bully named Patriot is attacked by a blister-ridden and increasingly feral Shelly after he inadvertently pulls a pigtail out of her scalp, with Clint being scratched by her before she runs. After Patriot is taken to the nurse's office, Patriot's friend Dink confronts Shelly while she attempts to dig her way out of the school. Shelly ends up infecting Dink, who spreads it throughout the playground by scratching the majority of the children before they proceed to kill several staff members along with a police officer. Later, Clint, Lucy, Wade and the other surviving staff members, consisting of Doug, Tracy Lacey, and Rebekkah Halverson, are forced to flee the faculty lounge when attacked by Patriot. After escaping to the library and joined by uninfected student Calvin, the staff barricades themselves in the music room. Wade notices Clint has been scratched by Shelly and quarantines him, Doug deducing that Clint is only experiencing symptoms of stomach flu as the virus does not affect adults like it does children.
The staff plans to head to the roof at the end of the school day to call out to the arriving parents for help, only to watch the first arriving parent to be killed by her child, before they are forced back into the school. As Wade is forced to kill Dink when he followed them into the auditorium, the group is joined by a teenager named Tamra, whom they found was scratched by one of the infected kids. Doug concludes from his autopsy of Dink's that the infected children are mostly brain dead and that the virus only affects prepubescent children. As Patriot takes out the power, the group sees that Calvin starts passing out from diabetic shock as they escape with the school janitor Hitachi and take refuge with him. The group sends Clint through the ventilation system to get a chocolate bar for Calvin, along with Wade's truck keys and their cellphones. Lucy joins Clint and they manage to secure a chocolate bar to bring Calvin out of diabetic shock. Clint and Lucy are separated from the group and get trapped in the library, where they confess their feelings for each other and kiss. Shortly after, Wade apologizes to Lucy for his behavior over a walkie-talkie. Clint knocks out several children with pills and he and Lucy reconvene with Wade and the others as they made themselves improvised weapons. The staff fight their way through the hallway and the parking lot, with Hitachi being overwhelmed by the infected children inside the school, while Wade stays behind to ensure the others get away. Patriot, having hidden in Wade's truck bed, attacks Clint and ends up being crushed against a tree.
The group continues to the nearby town of Danville before Wade's truck runs out of gas, finding the town similarly overrun while learning the viral infection has spread across the country. Several children ambush them, and they barricade themselves inside a childrens' entertainment building were they retrieve a contaminated chicken nugget for Doug to study in hope of developing a vaccine. They're later cornered in a playroom by Shelly and the infected children. Wade and Hitachi arrive in a van and help the group escape the room. Wade uses a massive beach ball to barricade the children inside while spraying them with a water gun filled with gasoline, lighting the gasoline trail to burn the building down. They manage to escape, driving out of the town to "someplace kids don't wanna go" as Shelly burns to death in pursuit.
In a post-credits scene, Hitachi is seen at the school, sitting in a chair and having a snack, and finishes telling a story he was telling the teachers earlier.
- Elijah Wood as Clint Hadson
- Alison Pill as Lucy McCormick
- Rainn Wilson as Wade Johnson
- Jack McBrayer as Tracy Lacey
- Leigh Whannell as Doug
- Nasim Pedrad as Rebekkah Halverson
- Cooper Roth as Patriot
- Armani Jackson as Calvin
- Morgan Lily as Tamra
- Sunny May Allison as Shelly
- Jorge Garcia as Rick
- Ian Brennan as Vice Principal Simms
- Miles Elliot as Dink
- Jake Brennan as Lincoln
- Lauren Stovall as Moon
- Aiden Lovekamp as Racer
- Kate Flannery as Charman Hadson
- Mark Christopher Lawrence as Mr. Pederson
- Matt Jones as Sheriff Dave
- Peter Kwong as Mr. Hitachi
- Jared Breeze as Safety Helmet Boy
- Nikita Ager as Patriot's Mom
- Tammy Baird as Mrs. Birk
- Jonathan Milott – director
- Cary Murnion – director
- Leigh Whannell – screenwriter, story writer
- Ian Brennan – screenwriter, story writer
- Josh C. Waller – producer, story writer
- Daniel Noah – producer
- Elijah Wood – producer
- Tove Christensen – producer
- Georgy Malkov – producer
- Steven Schneider – producer
- Hayden Christensen – executive producer
- Lyle Vincent – cinematographer
- Thomas William Hallbauer – production designer
- Gina Scarnati – costume designer
- Brett W. Bachman – editor
- Kreng – composer
The film was produced by Elijah Wood's production company SpectreVision and Tove Christensen's company Glacier Films. Executive Producers include Leigh Whannell, Seth William Meier and Ian C. Brennan.
The filming began on July 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Elijah Wood and Glacier Films produced the film. In September 2014, it was announced that they had filmed a new ending for the film which was paid for by Lionsgate. The new ending debuted at the Stanley Film Festival.
|Cooties (Music from The Motion Picture)|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||September 18, 2015|
Release and reception
The film premiered on January 18, 2014, at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, Utah during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival where it was selected to be featured in the "Park City at Midnight" program. The original planned release date in the United States was October 10, 2014. The film had its premiere opening night at the Stanley Film Festival on April 30, 2015. The film went onto screen at the Fantasia International Film Festival on July 17, 2015. The film had its Los Angeles premiere on September 3, 2015, at SpectreFest. It has also been selected to screen at the Sitges Film Festival on October 10, 2015.
The film was released in the US on September 18, 2015, in a limited release and through video on demand by Lionsgate Premiere. It debuted in 29 screens, where it placed 61st with $33,031. It saw a 77% drop in its second weekend with a weekend gross of $7,545 from 20 screens, bringing its cumulative total to $55,749.
The film also opened in Russia the same weekend, where it came in seventh place with a weekend total of $113,995 from 695 screens (but with a low $164 per screen average).
The film opened in Malaysia on September 23. It debuted in eight place with a gross of $5,381 from 40 screens. The following day saw the movie released in both Malaysia ($22,321 from 40 screens), Thailand ($57,024 from 62 screens), and Ukraine ($6,109 from 44 screens)
As of September 30, 2015, the movie has a domestic gross of $55,749 and an international gross of $204,793 for a worldwide gross of $260,542.
Cooties holds a 45% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 38 reviews and an average rating of 5.2/10. The critical consensus reads: "A horror-comedy without enough of either, Cooties is fatally content to skate by on its intriguingly oddball premise." On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 49 out of 100 based on 21 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Kyle Burton of IndieWire gave the film a B+ and said, "Gore can only go so far in the service of humor. Fortunately, the team behind Cooties—which includes Saw creator Leigh Whannell and Glee creator Ian Brennan—manage to pit comedy and horror together in a satisfying package. With mainstay comedy faces, Cootie could reach a larger audience than other similar cultish work. It's the best play on the recent zombie craze, and while not as well-timed as Zombieland, it has the potential to match that movie's success with a wide enough release."
Peter Debruge of Variety said, "Circle, circle, dot, dot. A schoolyard full of anklebiters develops a genuine taste for flesh in Cooties, an irreverent, off-color zom-com that seizes on the scourge of playgrounds everywhere when a spontaneous outbreak of brain-rotting, cannibalism-inducing germs erupts within a small-town elementary school. Told from the teachers’ p.o.v., this tongue-in-cheek midnight movie feels wrong in so many ways, asking a handful of irresponsible adults to bash and bludgeon their way through foaming packs of infected kids in order to save themselves. Acquired by Lionsgate at Sundance, the franchise-ready offering should benefit enormously from one of the distrib’s clever marketing campaigns." Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times wrote, "though Cooties has a reasonable amount of laughs and frights, and though real teachers may find it an apt allegory for the zombielike charges in their classrooms, it’s not really funny enough to achieve grown-up cachet, and it's too ugly and violent for younger viewers."
Nick Allen for RogerEbert.com gave the film one and a half stars, saying, "Cooties is meant to be a big joke, but with such a stunted imagination for its story or style, it's only a single gag." Robert Abele of The Los Angeles Times found that the film started off promising "But as with most of these genre-tweaking romps, the fizz dissipates and what's left are obvious gore beats, lame jokes, uninspired plot mechanics and an inability to end the mayhem satisfactorily."
- "Cooties (2015)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
- "Cooties (2015)". The-Numbers.com. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- Burton, Kyle (20 January 2014). "Sundance Review: Elijah Wood Vehicle 'Cooties' Is Gross Genre Fun".
- Woods, Kevin. "Cooties to open Stanley Film Festival; hits theaters/VOD in September - Horror Movie News | Arrow in the Head". Joblo. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
- Tyler Doupé (2015-05-20). "Get Infected by this Brand New Cooties Trailer!". Wicked Horror. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
- Jen Yamato (12 July 2013). "Elijah Wood Horror-Comedy 'Cooties' Catches Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Jorge Garcia, Nasim Pedrad". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- Hugh Armitage (15 July 2013). "Cooties will begin shooting today (July 15) in Los Angeles". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- Brad Miska (9 September 2014). "'Cooties' Filmmakers Shoot New Ending For Lionsgate". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
- Tyler Doupé (6 April 2015). "Cooties to Premiere New Ending at Stanley Film Festival". Wicked Horror. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
- "Cooties". 18 September 2015 – via Amazon.
- "Sundance 2014: Park City at Midnight". Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- "Stanley Film Festival Announces 'Cooties' As Opening Night Film". Indiewire. 2015-03-23. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
- "Cooties - Fantasia 2015".
- Busch, Anita (21 August 2015). "SpectreVision Unveils Lineup For 3rd Annual Genre Film Festival".
- Rowan-Legg, Shelagh (2 July 2015). "Sitges 2015 Announced: COOTIES, VICTORIA, TURBO KID, SUMMER CAMP And More".
- "Cooties (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "Cooties Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "Sundance Film Review: 'Cooties'". Variety.com. January 27, 2014. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- Genzlinger, Neil (2015-09-17). "Review: 'Cooties,' Back to School With Zombies and Gore". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
- Allen, Nick (2015-09-18). "Cooties". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
- Abele, Robert (2015-09-17). "Review Elijah Wood, Alison Pill and Rainn Wilson run wild in horror comedy 'Cooties'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
- "Cooties". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
- "Cooties" – via Amazon.