27 January 2014 11:47 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Circle, circle, dot, dot … A schoolyard full of anklebiters develops a genuine taste for flesh in “Cooties,” an irreverent, off-color zom-com that seizes on the scourge of playgrounds everywhere when a spontaneous outbreak of brain-rotting, cannibalism-inducing germs erupts within a small-town elementary school. Told from the teachers’ p.o.v., this tongue-in-cheek midnight movie feels wrong in so many ways, asking a handful of irresponsible adults to bash and bludgeon their way through foaming packs of infected kids in order to save themselves. Acquired by Lionsgate at Sundance, the franchise-ready offering should benefit enormously from one of the distrib’s clever marketing campaigns.

When “The Walking Dead” pilot shot a little zombie girl through the forehead, critics were understandably outraged. But when a tongue-in-cheek satire comes along and treats the entire student body of a semi-privileged public school as target practice, one should either embrace the bad-taste premise or switch off immediately. »


- Peter Debruge

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