23 September 2015 | billygoat1071
Leading to Nowhere
Cooties is about zombie children. That premise alone could come up with a lot of crazy ideas. And the movie does try to add up to that silliness; the characters are often too incompetent to face them. It's fun on paper, but the movie gets too confused by its focus. The characters are tough to care about and yet they get more of the center of this film. While there is some worthy sense of horror and worthy sense of humor, the movie doesn't have an exact direction where to go and it gets even confused with the plot, which eventually keeps stalling to unnecessary arcs that won't go anywhere in the end. Cooties overall feels like it's handling an unfinished script of a potential cult classic.
After the opening credits that reveals the source of this virus, the movie spends most of the time establishing its characters. Not that this is a bad narrative, but the characters it is trying to focus aren't really that interesting. The main protagonist is a writer out of luck, got strung to a love triangle and settle too much on that romance. The side characters are much interesting since they have something to involve in the actual plot; example is the socially awkward teacher who happens to know how to figure out the source and effects of the virus. He's basically a punchline, but he does more to this plot than the groan-worthy love triangle. Another one is a kid who was spared from the infected children who seems to be setup for a suspense of keeping him from becoming one of those zombie children, but that doesn't go anywhere either. And what's with the guy with the shrooms? In the end, these characters are either just one-noted or stereotypes, in both genres of comedy and horror.
When it's all about the horror, there is some really inspired moments; mostly at the night scene where there's a tricycle riding infected little girl wandering around the premises. There is a really effective amount of creeps to be found in those scenes. There's even one where they are being chased in a vent; in spite of its fast pace, the tension still works. But these worthy scenes are kinda few, most of them, while undeniably gross, is just as contrived as any horror film. It even occasionally just hides the monsters and just show their reactions. The cast did try to outweigh their roles, but hardly got the opportunity. Elijah Wood at least made his role sort of more charming than it should be. Rainn Wilson manages to ham it up to a role that doesn't exactly know what it's supposed to be.
Cooties doesn't feel like it has an ending, or at least the movie decided to be lazy instead in this conclusion. And of course, the climax! It's so rushed that it's supposed to be as charming and exciting as, let's say, Zombieland. But it doesn't deserve earning that since it mostly spends its time building up a romance that leads to nowhere. There is so much potential in this film that are mostly left out. While there is still some nice thrills, inspired horror movie moments and even sense of humor having these awkward unlikable comedy movie characters stuck in this darker genre, the film never becomes satisfying. It should have heightened more of its creativity; the tricycle girl is great, but how about an infected baby? I thought they were building that up to something more shocking. It's just ideas and violence being slapped together and never get to flourish. You may get some fine violence, creeps and laughs, but you'll suddenly realize that this atmosphere is hardly engaging.