The R-Rated Horror Comedy Bloodbath That Will Make You Hate Your Favorite Food, Stream Right Now

By Robert Scucci | Updated

I’ve mentioned in the past that Elijah Wood and Daniel Radcliffe are currently living on the best timeline. After watching films like Swiss Army Man, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, and Come to Daddy, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that both actors have the resources and agency to star in whatever completely off-the-wall movies they want to, and I’m 100 percent here for it. After finally getting around to watching Wood’s Cooties, I can safely say that my assumption was correct because it’s one of the best horror comedies I’ve seen in a very long time.

Shaun Of The Dead Meets Anchorman

If I had to sum up Cooties in a single sentence, I’d describe it as an updated version of Shaun of the Dead that’s as quotable as Anchorman.

Elijah Wood takes center stage in Cooties, and is supported by an ensemble cast that includes Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan, Jorge Garcia, and Nasim Pedrad.

Rainn Wilson Steals The Show

Set primarily within the confines of Fort Chicken Elementary, Cooties wastes no time getting to the gore while leaving room for too many one-liners to count (“follow me, I do crossfit!”). Elijah Wood’s Clint Hadson is working at the school as a substitute teacher after moving back home to live with his mom so he can finish writing his horror novel. He’s beyond thrilled when he reconnects with his high school crush and fellow teacher, Lucy McCormick (Alison Pill), but disappointed to find out that she’s dating the school’s surly physical education teacher, Wade Johnson (Rainn Wilson).

Tainted Chicken Nuggets

After a fourth-grader named Shelley Linker becomes infected after eating a tainted chicken nugget, she begins to attack her classmates, giving everybody a case of the cooties. The cooties, in this context, transform every single student into flesh-eating zombies during recess. The faculty members barricade themselves inside the school, but it doesn’t take long for the students to breach the building and continue their rampage.

Teachers vs. Small Children

The conflict in Cooties is twofold. Clint is competing for Lucy’s affection, much to the chagrin of Wade, and all of the cell phones are locked in the principal’s office because Vice Principal Simms (Ian Brennan) doesn’t want anybody having screen time while school is in session. With no way to let the outside world know about the cooties outbreak, Clint and Wade butt heads because of their developing dislike for each other but realize that they have to work together if they want to make it out of the school alive.

The Humor Isn’t Deep, But It Doesn’t Have To Be

A healthy source of humor in Cooties comes in the form of grown adults delivering the smack-down on grade school children. Fortunately, these children are no longer children in the conventional sense, so it’s not as offensive as you would think. Using whatever blunt objects they can get their hands on, the teachers plot their daring escape and fight for survival, not knowing how far the inspection has spread outside of school grounds.

Extremely Violent And Extremely Funny

Cooties is extremely violent, but its dark humor is second to none. Though Elijah Wood is very much the protagonist, Rainn Wilson steals the show on more than one occasion because his character is so unthinkably audacious and situationally unaware. There’s an air of authenticity in Wilson’s character because he’s so obsessed with his own athletic prowess that he doesn’t even know he’s surrounded by infected children on the playground while he’s tirelessly shooting free throws in the first act.

Streaming For Free


If you’re looking for an amazing double feature, I strongly recommend watching Shaun of the Dead and Cooties back-to-back. Not only do both titles boast similar production values, they also have the same sense of humor that celebrates and lampoons all of the tropes you’ll find in more serious zombie movies like Dawn of the Dead or 28 Days Later. You can currently stream Cooties for free on Tubi, and I strongly recommend that you do so.