15 – 84mins – 2015
NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD
“Circle, circle, dot, dot: now you have a cooties shot.”
After graduating from The Faculty in 1998, Elijah Wood now finds himself battling another supernatural threat on American academia, albeit from the opposite side of the staff room door. A batch of contaminated chicken nuggets turn the prepubescent summer schoolers attending Illinois’ Fort Chicken Elementary into flesh-craving ghouls. Seems Jamie Oliver was right to crack down on school dinners all along!
As failed horror novelist turned reluctant substitute teacher Clint Hadson, Wood is relatedly normal amongst a diverse cast of mad eccentrics: Jorge Lost Garcia plays a druggie crossing guard; Rainn The Office Wilson the most louche he’s ever been as a bearded PE teacher; Jack 30 Rock McBrayer a closeted diva; co-writer Leigh Saw Whannell suitably unhinged as a troubled-but-genius science teacher. On the other side of barmy, cutesy Alison Pill is obviously set up as the former Hobbit’s unattainable love interest, her maddest quirk the fact she’s dating Wilson’s sportster douche.
Woefully, after a gloriously promising start rife with barf-baiting gore and gigglesome gags (watching this while eating meat will turn you veggie!), things completely fall apart the instant the power goes out and the school-on-lockdown is plunged into darkness. Too gloomy to decipher and with flashlights adding little clarity to the muddily confusion, Cooties‘ entire second half drags depressingly and does all in its power to decimate the deliciously devilish daytime drama. A real pity – but I always knew after-school clubs were a waste of time.
CR@B’s Claw Score: