Fantasia Fest 2015: Cooties (2014) & Point of View (Short 2015)

Its really early in the Fantasia Festival to be feeling a little overwhelmed but after the showing of Cooties on Friday, I needed one because the late showing turned my schedule around and then the weekend was slightly crazy. Weekly Adventures coming up to explain that bit in more detail.  After a weekend of crazy, other than this one, I have two more Fantasia reviews to go up this week.  Thank goodness, the second week of Fantasia is a lot less hectic so I can catch my breath and get these reviews up.

Before Cooties started, we had a short film called Point of View open.

Point of View (Short 2015)

Point of View

Point of View

Its directed by Justin Harding who was present to introduce it a little. Running at 8 minutes long, its about “A tired coroner is stalked by the living dead — but only when she isn’t looking!” (Fantasia site).  Let me tell you: this short is awesome! The best way to start a movie like Cooties.  With an equally funny movie that had some little nerve-wrecking moments but all in 8 minutes that passed by faster than I ever imagined.

Cooties (2014)

Canadian Premiere


Director: Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion

Cast: Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad, Ian Brennan, Jorge Garcia, Cooper Roth, Morgan Lily, Armani Jackson, Sunny May Allison

Clint (Elijah Wood) heads back home to Fort Chicken to hopefully work on his novel and gets employed as a substitute at the high school he used to go to when he was younger. There he meets a girl, Lucy (Alison Pill) that he used to go to high school with.  Lucy is dating the angry and awkward gym teacher, Wade (Rainn Wilson).  When contaminated chicken nuggets are sent to the school and a little girl called Shelly eats it, the virus spreads among the young kids and turns them into raging, flesh eating living dead.  As the school day progresses, the group of teachers and faculty that are struggling to survive try to find a way to escape the school.


You know how Shaun of the Dead was this really great horror comedy? Cooties is very much along the same lines except with a sillier sort of humor because its more Americanized? Its not meant to be offensive (in case you feel that way). Its just that British humor is in a league of its own. I always say this when I look at comedies: its totally subjective. While I’m not a huge fan of American stupid humor and there was a bit of it here, for the most part Cooties had a lot of effective laughs while being completely and equally effective at creating gory and tense situations. Even in horror comedies, kids being the ones infected or just in the scary side is incredibly creepy. There were really intense parts in Cooties, especially one of the kids who was just raging maniatic. The premise here and even the logic behind it is pretty great. Cooties essentially means that its a virus only in kids.  Plus, it even has some hidden messages about the education system…maybe I’m overthinking this but there’s one bit that made me feel like it was really poking fun at this new thing in school.  I don’t want to spoil it so I’m going to keep it vague. Point being, it works and does it in a really smart way.


The next aspect I would like to talk about is the characters. We have a mixed bag with the teachers.  Our main character is Clint who is really the not so confident and not really a leader who kind of gets forced into the situation.  Wade is the weirdo angry gym teacher who has all the dumb lines but who actually is hilarious especially when they start running the movie references and all that stuff.  Alison Pill is the preppy teacher who isn’t really all that positive so we get a first taste of her layered characters.  Actually, all these characters have that.  In the more secondary role (and my favorite character) was the science teacher, Doug played by Leigh Whannell (also co-writer of the movie) who pulls the best hilarious lines.  I think almost everyone laughed whenever he said any of his lines because they were absurd and just so inappropriate most of the time, especially since he played the socially awkward dude and Leigh Whannell does it so well! As the movie progresses, even the secondary characters all collectively add to the awesome fun comedy that adds in a good level of tension.


Overall, Cooties is a downright awesome horror comedy with just the right amount of comedy to satisfy your taste and very well balanced in the tense horror zombie movie its supposed to be.  With a fantastic cast that has script which gives us a variety of different characters that help create a balance that works effectively, it keeps the movie constantly entertaining. The premise of using kids (and having cooties) to be an actual virus that turns them into zombies is absolutely great.  The whole idea of it was simple but well illustrated during the movie as we learned more about this virus and just how it had spread.  Cooties ends with a bang and leaves it wide open for a sequel and you know what, if the same crew sat down to write the sequel, count me excited! You can bet that this one is going right into my movie collection when it comes out 🙂 Its really good and I totally think you should give it a shot!

Seeing as this is a Canadian premiere, I’m thinking its opened elsewhere.  Have you seen Cooties? What do you think of it? Are you a fan of horror comedies?

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Have I told you about my Disney animated collection? My goal is to collect all of Disney movies.  Mostly, it includes animations/classics but then I have a few that aren’t but I always enjoy it.  When I went to Burlington/Plattsburgh for Easter weekend, I managed to pick up a cheaper (than Montreal) copy of Wreck-It Ralph.  Finally, in the lineup of comedies, I chose this one to see!

wreck it ralphDirector: Rich Moore

Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Mindy Kaling

Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the video game villain in the 30 year old arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr. After 30 years, he feels alone and rejected.  As Felix  has his hammer to fix everything and he’s the hero of the game, he always gets the medal.  After an encounter with the “good guys” in the game, he vows that he will get a medal to prove that he can hang out with them so they know that he isn’t a bad guy.  As he searches for a solution, he finds himself the opportunity to jump to another game, Hero’s Duty to get their Medal of Heroes.  Its there, things get a bit out of hand and he unleashes something and ends up accidentally bringing that into another game Sugar Rush.  Little did he know that he would end up with an annoying little girl called Vanellope who wants to race in the game but King Candy (Alan Tudyk) and the other racers will go to no ends to stop her from joining in.  In between all this, we get Hero’s Duty leader, Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) and Felix teaming up to bring Ralph back before their games are all affected and get unplugged forever.

wreck it ralph bad-anon

“I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”

Wreck-It Ralph is very appealing.  It has a lot to offer and I loved the premise.  I love arcades and when you set it in an arcade scenario and manipulate the use of the setup there to make its own imaginative (but real) community, I found it completely ingenious.  The power bar was the central station of the games.  They had everything including a Bad-Anon group to give therapy to all the bad guys in the games because they are just normal characters who are playing a role to keep their game alive and plugged.  My boyfriend and I particularly loved it when they even inserted the Metal Gear Solid exclamation mark! We love that game to bits! Plus, Pacman, Sonic, Street Fighter, Bowser..its a gamer’s dream right there.

wreck it ralph ralph

“Here you go, guys. Its fresh from Pac-man’s”

Other than having a great premise, this animated flick has some pretty awesome characters.  To start, we have Ralph.  He’s our protagonist, despite being a villain in his game.  All he wants is to not feel wanted and accepted for who he is and not his job per se.  He ends up overlooking the balance of things and he learns that being a hero means a whole lot more.  The responsibilities behind it and just simply what it means to be friends and to tell and analyze right and wrong and seeing the true nature of someone.  He’s big but he’s sweet and caring.  We can see that when he deals with the situation like with Vanellope.

"'d I do?"

“So…how’d I do?”

Vanellope is the cutest little girl ever! She’s annoying and all but she has her reasons for being the way she is.  At many times, this flick is about the developing friendship between her and Ralph.  They both start it off with manipulation to get something from one another and use each other’s skills to get to their end goal but it changes around.  The spark and the dialogue between them are just so fun and it made me fall in love with these two.

Sergeant Calhoun in Hero's Duty

Sergeant Calhoun in Hero’s Duty

Being a sub storyline and supporting characters in this flick, Sergeant Calhoun is the one that packs in the intensity and has this type of sarcastic humor that only the awesome Jane Lynch can do.  Which is also why she is playing this hilarious role.  She has her own back story and the character’s tough gun-wielding gal matched up with peaceful and righteous hammer fixer-upper Felix to save Sugar Rush from its abomination.  Its a weird and awkward team but silly and crazy fun at the same time. 🙂

"It's my job to fix whatever Ralph wrecks!"

“It’s my job to fix whatever Ralph wrecks!”

This is getting a bit longer than I expected and I haven’t even gotten to King Candy.  This is a really fun animation.  I had to insert these quotes and it doesn’t really ruin the review.  Still spoiler-free, right? Its been a while that I’ve felt so young and absorbed into a more current animation.  I liked a lot of last year’s flicks, but this one really takes it.  There are a great amount of laughs and it pleases not only younger audience with the little girls and the easy dialogue, and has a light love story mixed with nothing really in the scary area, but at the same time, its fun for the adult audience thats been through gaming (like me) that grew up with Mario, Pac-Man, Sonic, etc.  I really had an awesome time with this one! I watched it again in the evening and I found it as great as it was on the first viewing 🙂

Do you have a favorite animated Disney flick (excluding Pixar)?