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Cooper Roth, top, as Patriot and Elijah Wood, bottom, as Clint in Cooties.

Anthony Michael Rivetti

2.5 out of 4 stars

Written by
Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan
Directed by
Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion
Starring
Starring Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English

After escaping Mordor in the Lord of the Rings films, Elijah Wood has emerged as something of a go-to genre star, headlining all manner of out-there horror films.

Some (Grand Piano) have been more successful than others (Maniac), but you have to admire the actor's embrace of the bloody and weird, even if his new projects draw only a sliver of his LOTR fan base.

In Cooties, a hybrid horror-comedy that never quite sells either element, Wood plays Clint, a sad-sack substitute teacher who must defend his school from a horde of zombified children (The kids developed a hunger for humans after eating some tainted chicken fingers – it happens to everyone, right?)

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Wood makes for a solid leading man when pressed into action, and he's joined by a hearty group of comedy actors willing to get messy (Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Nasim Pedrad).

But while directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion want to have their laughs and horror, too, the film is something of a zombie itself: half-alive and bloody, but lacking any heart.

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