Thursday, January 14, 2016

Cooties Blu-ray Review

School lunches will forever be tainted after the disturbing and hilarious Cooties arrives on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD December 1 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. From the twisted minds of the writer of Insidious and co-creator of "Glee," the film stars a witty ensemble cast including Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Rainn Wilson (TV's "The Office"), Alison Pill (HBO's "The Newsroom"), Jack McBrayer (TV's "30 Rock"), Leigh Whannell (Saw), Nasim Pedrad (TV's "Saturday Night Live"), with Ian Brennan (TV's "Scream Queens") and Jorge Garcia (TV's "Hawaii Five-0"). Filled with unexpected laughs and unapologetic thrills, the ridiculously entertaining horror-comedy was a Sundance Film Festival premiere hit! One of the Cooties tagline states “Recess Will Never Be the Same”. They should warn viewers that chicken nuggets will never be the same. Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson star in the horror/comedy with enough zombie children to keep you away from elementary schools for good.
Film (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Clint Hadson (Elijah Wood) has recently returned to his hometown of Ft. Chicken, Illinois to work on his first novel. He is substitute teaching for the summer while his novel takes shape. He might as well introduce his novel to some young readers after his mother is brutally honest about everything she dislikes about his book. The children at the elementary school are mean overall, maybe that’s because the worst of the worst ended up in summer school.

On his first day, Clint awkwardly meets the other teachers who include an old friend Lucy (Allison Pill). Lucy is a perky young teacher whose boyfriend Wade (Rainn Wilson) is the PE teacher. Wade is weird, possessive and is instantly not of fan of Clint. PE teachers are the least of his problems. A young girl has started showing signs of an illness after eating a tainted chicken nugget. The other children make fun of her cooties, which eventually manifest into boils and rotting flesh. The teachers and administrators all fail to notice the impending zombie outbreak even when a child bites the face of a classmate. Soon, the teachers are running and hiding from the children who are fast, meaner than ever and are hungry for flesh.

Zombie films certainly have a specific audience. Not everyone who likes horror enjoys a good zombie massacre. I happen to like horror and zombies but not zombie children. Children are creepy enough without boils on their face and a taste for the other other white meat. The film has its funny moments and Elijah Wood and Allison Pill carry the movie. The supporting cast of Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer and SNL’s Nasim Pedrad (who carries a rape button because she can’t have a concealed weapon and inappropriately badgers children with her beliefs) are too over the top for me.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
Cooties is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in a 2.39:1 ratio. The color palette is often skewed giving the film an unusual feel. For a zombie flick it’s surprisingly bright and the lighter side of the spectrum really pops off the screen. When the cast heads into a dark basement or into an air vent, quality remains and detail is not compromised. Clarity is excellent throughout the film. The special effects appear campy but realistic.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
Cooties' DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is also lighter and more playful than expected. Just as the flesh eating is hard to watch, there are sounds that are hard to hear if you have a weak stomach. Dialogue is clear and intelligible throughout the film which offers a wide range of sound effects.
Extras (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
  • Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot. . .Catching Cooties (13:20) – your standard behind the scenes featurette with interviews but a bit less whimsy than I expected. 
  • The Cootieary – A fun but loud audio commentary with cast and crew. 
  • Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes (16:03) 
  • Gag Reel (1080p; 4:03) 
  • Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary (1080p; 4:13) 
  • Talking Cooties (9:18) – a chance to watch the recording of a commentary. 
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
Mixing comedy and horror is a very hard thing to do and I can’t say that Cooties got it right. I give them points for trying and creating a film that doesn’t make me want that 88 minutes of my life back. This isn’t a film I’ll probably watch again but it might be fun for a crowd of close friends. It is more fun to be grossed out in groups. The audio and video quality of the Blu-ray presents very well and the special features are worth watching but not writing home about.

Order your copy today!

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