Movie Review Double Feature: Cooties & The Final Girls

Cooties is the first of two horror-comedies that I watched today. The film is about a virus passed along in the chicken nuggets at an elementary school. The virus affects all of the pre-pubescent kids and they turn on the adult faculty at the school. But a group of teachers band together and fight off the zombie children and must find a way out of the school to safety.

Cooties is directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion and was written by Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious) and Ian Brennan (Glee, Scream Queens), who also appear in the movie as Doug and Vice Principal Simms, respectively. Another key person who helped get Cooties released was Elijah Wood. He plays a substitute teacher named Clint in the movie but his production company, SpectreVision, helped make Cooties a possibility.

The movie also stars Rainn Wilson (Super, The Office), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock, Despicable Me), Alison Pill (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Goon), Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens, Despicable Me 2), and Jorge Garcia (Lost, The Wedding Ringer). With a great cast and crew, Cooties is a very good movie that fans of horror and comedy can enjoy. Even though the zombie genre has been overplayed recently, Cooties was a refreshing zombie flick that deserves more notoriety than what it has gotten so far.

The second film I watched was The Final Girls. Not to be confused with the movie released with Abigail Breslin and Wes Bentley, this movie stars Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story), Malin Akerman (Watchmen), Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games), Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development), Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley), and Adam DeVine (Workaholics). And this is another example of a great cast putting a great performance together to create a fantastic horror-comedy.

The Final Girls starts off with Max (Farmiga) and Amanda (Akerman), a mother and daughter, driving when they get into an accident and Amanda is killed in the crash. The movie then fast-forwards to the future and Max and her friends, Gertie (Shawkat), Chris (Ludwig), Vicki (Dobrev), and Duncan (Middleditch), attend a special screening of “Camp Bloodbath”, an 80’s slasher flick that Max’s mom started in. But when the theater goes up in flames, the group finds themselves trapped in the movie. Now, they join up with the camp counselors in the movie and have to try to stay alive while they are hunted down by Billy Murphy, the movie’s maniacal masked killer.

Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) and written by M. A. Fortin and Joshua John Miller, The Final Girls is a great horror-comedy that pays homage to the great slasher films of the 1980s like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and more. The story of Max losing her actress mother was also inspired by Miller, who co-wrote the screenplay after the passing of his father, Jason Miller, who portrayed Father Karras in The Exorcist. That helped lend a lot of heartfelt moments toward the end of the movie. With that added emotion, The Final Girls is a great tribute to the slasher subgenre and reminds us all that to survive in a horror movie, we have to keep our clothes on. And also that when we think it is all over, there is always a sequel!

Daryl Karpinski, Jr.