Something is Seriously Wrong With the Chicken Nuggets
By Lucia Rossi
The limited release of “Cooties” began after its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014 earlier this month.
This independent horror comedy only made $33,000 in the box office and did not receive fabulous reviews from critics and fans. Horror comedy may not be the best or the most enjoyable genre, but with a great cast, “Cooties” was definitely worth the watch.
It all started with the Happy Poultry Company–an ironic name for a place that slaughters chickens–where chicken nuggets are made and distributed for countless organizations and schools.
Early on in the film, nuggets with black spots on them were given to students at Fort Chicken Elementary School, where children were infected with a virus that turned them into undead cannibals.
The virus then spread across America.
Clint Hadson (Elijah Wood), a new substitute teacher and wannabe horror author, seeks to reconnect with his childhood friend and colleague, Lucy McCormick (Alison Pill), who is dating the PE teacher, Wade Johnson (Rainn Wilson).
Trying to navigate the love triangle, the three teachers work with four other teachers, two students, a mushroom-obsessed crossing guard, and a kung fu-fighting janitor.
The virus’s origin is unknown, and only affects pre-pubescent children. If someone who went through puberty gets bitten or scratched, they will only get stomach flu-like symptoms.
The savage zombie children are smart enough to keep scratching other students so that the number of zombies grows and they can overwhelm adults with ease.
It was very surprising and terrifying to see how smart the zombie children are.
They laugh, run, play with toys (using intestines as a jump rope), know how to cut off electricity, open doors, can signal to each other, and plan surprise attacks.
While these are probably the most efficient zombies you will ever see, they still can’t talk.
The teachers held their own much better than expected. Although it was difficult to be brave, they used whatever they could find in the janitor’s closet and gym to create weapons–I’m talking musical instruments and gym equipment.
This led into one of the most epic brawls of the film where it was the teachers verses fifty zombie students.
Rainn Wilson’s character was by far the funniest and the most badass in the entire film. He fired baseballs and used a water gun filled with gasoline to set the little monsters on fire. He really took one for the team.
Because the film uses chicken as a motif, the references and jokes are endless.
The elementary school’s mascot are the Fighting Roosters, for instance, which is symbolic because the characters are actually fighting. It could also be a symbol for the chickens that were slaughtered and are, through infection, fighting back.
From a symbolic point of view, I believe this is a chicken and children rebellion story.
The chicken are metaphorically rising up against their human oppressors and murderers who eat them by turning children into murderers who eat other humans.
This works for children exclusively because they are rising against their oppressors, adults. I’ll stop there.
What’s great about the film is the amount of creepiness as well as the good laughs, though you’ll find the best jokes towards the end of the film. The group of teachers are very diverse in personality and all had something valuable to contribute.
If you like zombie outbreak stories, like the new “Fear The Walking Dead,” this is very similar to that, except it’s funnier.
You can see “Cooties” at the AMC Empire 25 theatre in Manhattan, since that is literally the only theatre showing the film in New York.