CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS
I'll be honest here: there were several moments in the first forty minutes of this dreadful horror comedy (probably the most difficult genre crossover to pull off) where my finger was hovering over the Eject button and I was this close to sending it back to LoveFilm with an insulting note. I did stick it out, however, and while the last half hour or so is an improvement, it's nowhere near enough to save the movie. Like so many horror comedies it fails on both fronts: sure it's gory and bloody but it's not scary and it's really not funny.
There are times when Cooties feels like a US sitcom set in a rundown school where all the teachers are "characters". If it was, then this episode would be The One Where The Kids Get A Cold Sore Virus From A Contaminated Chicken Nuggety Thing And Turn Into Pseudo-Zombies And Start A Nationwide Pandemic. Struggling writer Elijah Wood returns to his hometown to teach at his old school, finds his childhood sweetheart engaged to a hopeless moron - but then one pupil starts biting chunks out of the others and suddenly there's a sort-of-zombie outbreak. Can the ragbag of maladjusted staff band together and stay alive, at least until home time?
Who cares? You tire very quickly of the grown-up idiots bickering amongst themselves, and the children are hateful monsters even before they get the virus. There's plenty of opportunity for graphic gore and disembowelments and violence against children, but it's all done in that too-broad way that veers towards the bad taste territory of Troma. After a few more visually stylish and unusual projects - Open Windows, Grand Piano, the Maniac remake - it's sad to see Elijah Wood in such cheap and tacky schlock as Cooties. Charmless, really not funny and, despite the noticeable improvement towards the end, overall something of a disappointment.