Why has this hilarious horror-comedy flown under the radar? Penned by the minds behind Saw and Glee, An ensemble cast of well-known comedy stars defend themselves against an invasion of rabid zombie children.

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Cooties (2014)

Episode 45, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Craig:  Hello, and welcome to another episode of 2 Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Craig. 

Todd:  And I’m Todd. 

Craig:  And this week, it was my turn to pick the movie, and so I went with 2014’s Cooties. This is a movie led by Elijah Wood in what I thought was a really, really funny ensemble cast. As I mentioned before, it came out in 2014. I had seen this movie before, but I don’t think you had. Had you, Todd? 

Todd:  No. I no. I hadn’t even heard of it before. So I was I was actually pretty surprised when I saw that the cast list, and started watching the film that I’d never heard of it. 

Craig:  Yeah. It’s got a pretty good, pretty strong cast of recognizable faces, people that you would recognize from, mostly comedy really because, while this certainly has some really intense elements of horror, a lot of the focus is on the comedy. And I think that it’s it’s really successful there. But, you’ve got, Rainn Wilson who was hilarious on The Office. You’ve got, who else? Kate Flannery, who just makes a cameo at the very beginning. She’s also from The Office. Nasim Todd, who, has done Saturday Night Live and and is popping up a lot, on TV these days and in movies. Jorge Garcia from Lost, also a really funny guy.   So some some pretty, reasonably big names, in the movie. And I saw it, I don’t know, sometime earlier this year. And I remembered that I had really enjoyed it. But watching it again reminded me that this movie is really just a laugh out loud funny. Like at least for the first 45 minutes to an hour, I mean, I was just cracking up through the whole thing. What did you think? 

Todd:  Oh my gosh. The same way. It was like watching a Saturday Night Live skit that really hit all the right notes or The Office. The comedy was in it was just I thought it was very sophisticated. I thought it was really funny. It was very modern and contemporary. The jokes came fast, and it was, again, one of those comedies where it doesn’t feel like they’re trying so hard that it, goes really silly. It just felt like and I know this isn’t the case, but it felt like all these guys got together and, like, spitballed this movie, and it just played to everyone’s strengths.   You know? And I was really surprised. 

Craig:  Yeah. I thought so too. 

Todd:  I was really surprised to see who wrote it. I mean, Lee Whannel, who is not really or Whannell. Is it Whannell? Lee Whannell who 

Craig:  I think so. I’m not really sure. 

Todd:  The guy behind Saw, who’s not really, as far as I’m concerned, known for being the best writer, although he’s improving considerably. But then his cowriter on this was Ian Brennan who created Glee, and it has a lot of that same flavor, kind of like that, that that more understated television comedy that we see right now, like, from shows like Glee or like Modern Family, and The Office. Yeah. It and I bet a lot of the jokes in here ended up, from just getting these people together and and having them improvise a little bit too. You know? Or people probably came up with ideas. 

Craig:  Oh, I’m   sure you’re right. 

Todd:  Yeah. Just great. I thought it was funny through through and throughout. 

Craig:  Yeah, I did too. And and like you said, the jokes just come like really rapid fire. Like, it just seems like every line, every other line is is genuinely funny. The premise of the movie, you know, we usually do quite a bit of recap and I don’t know how well that’s gonna work here because so much of it really is just about the jokes and the humor especially through the first half. But the premise is pretty simple and I think really clever. You’ve got, Elijah Wood who is a struggling writer who I guess has lived in New York for a little while, but has now moved back home to his small town, of Fort Chicken. And he is to make a little bit of money on the side, I guess, he is going to be substituting at the elementary school that he had attended as a child. And that’s how the movie starts.   You know, he wakes up in the morning and, actually his mom, who is played by Kate Flannery, who is just hysterical, on The Office. She wakes him up and they talk about, his book and he asked, you know, have you read, the first part of the book? And and she says, Oh, yeah. I read it. It’s great. It’s great. It’s great. He says, Well, you know, I I could use a little creative feedback.   Well, I did think the characters were a tiny bit unlikable. That’s more like it. Noted. And it was a little slow. I found myself a little bored, to be honest. And I heart honesty. I also didn’t know what was going on or where we were. It wasn’t explained very well.   Frankly, I couldn’t figure out the plot. It was kind of insulting, and there was no specificity in the writing in terms of time and place. Okay. And where was the inciting incident? Okay. Okay. This this is wow. Thank you. But mostly, I loved it.   Now get on up and teach those summer school kids how to write like you.   And and you get the sense that, you know, this this guy, this young guy, he he really is struggling, as, an author. But he’s gonna be going, to substitute at this school. And, he he he does. He goes there. And on the way, he’s like practicing opening lines for chapter 1 of his book and and he says like, The boat was evil, but he loved the boat. Or, the boat was somewhat evil, but he loved it anyway. And, like, all these different goofy, every single one of them bad. And then finally, after he’s rattled off several, he goes, it’s getting there.   And it’s it’s it’s so I mean, it’s just so goofy. But he gets to school and right away, like, just everything is funny. The interactions, you know, he’s walking in as parents are dropping off their kids, and the interactions between the parents and the kids are hilarious. This is, an r rated film, and, there’s a Todd amount of gore in it later on. But even had there not been, for the language alone, it would have gotten, a Todd solid r. So you you see kids, telling their parents to f off and then other kids are having really sweet moments with their parents. But it’s it’s funny stuff. And then he gets inside where he meets, the vice principal who is filling in.   The regular principal is out, and, the vice principal who is played by, Ian Brennan, one of the writers. 

Clip:  Righteous. Thanks so much for coming in on such short notice. Looks like missus Kenner’s down with a stomach flu or maybe she’s pregnant because she is Mormon, so that’s always a possibility. 

Craig:  It is just these little irreverent jokes throughout. I mean, you know, that’s it could be offensive in certain audiences, but, you know, it’s it’s really played for the humor and it works. He, takes him to the teacher’s lounge where we then get to meet the rest of this ensemble cast who I thought, was really good. 

Todd:  Oh, yeah. I mean, you’ve got some great characters here. So that was, there’s Wade, who is played by Rainn Wilson, who is the, PE teacher, I guess. And he’s just this goofball, almost kind of rednecky guy. He the the funny the quirky funny things he does with these characters just keep them from being too stock. You know? I mean, they are a little too stock, but, they’re quirky enough that that really doesn’t bother you. It’s just kind of a character type that they’re playing. You have Doug, who is played by Leigh Whannell, and he’s I don’t, man, I don’t even know how to describe this guy.   He’s just a super awkward human being where you realize something’s wrong with this guy. Like, he just has a mental problem. Like, he’s, what do you call it? When he he just lacks social skills completely? 

Craig:  Yeah. When you first see him, he’s sitting he’s sitting in a corner reading a book called How to Have a Normal Conversation. 

Todd:  And he’s just awkwardly trying. So it it makes him endearing, actually. Like, even though this guy is saying and being ridiculous and and stating the obvious and, kind of annoying, you kinda feel for him because immediately just the fact that he’s reading that book and he’s trying awkwardly and failing and then kind of ducking out of the conversation again to, like, regroup his head, you feel like at least, he’s he’s trying and and, he he’s endearing in that way. And I was actually I agree. Taken by that character, as it even more so as the movie went on. And the movie got weirder, and he got weirder. And then there’s Lucy, which who is, the girl that, Clint, we find out later. All along, he knew that she was still teaching at the school.   He’s a former classmate of hers, and he knew that she was teaching there. And so he that’s part of the reason why he decided to come back and substitute, was trying to meet up with her. But she’s already hooked up with Wade. It’s a little unlikely, this little romance Right. Or whatever. But again, it’s the sort of thing that does tend to happen in a small town. People, meet up for the oddest reason. So, she seems fairly normal, I guess, compared to everybody else.   Wait. 

Craig:  She’s like the really nice one. She’s the sugary sweet one. 

Todd:  And pretty and all that. And and so they have this awkward conversation Todd. And he, you know, you get the sense that every he’s coming back and he feels like he’s kind of a rock star because he’s been to New York and everybody knows that he’s been to New York. And the the rumor, you know, the talk basically is that he’s a writer, but he’s coming back to to regroup. And and it it’s funny because they’re talking, in a sense, like he’s a teacher. Like, he’s teaching at the school, and and he’s even just a sub. You know? He’s not even Yes. It’s it’s really so kind of lame that it’s again, it’s this, like, cute lame that being Elijah Todd, he plays it just so sweet and nicely.   Elijah Wood just has that look. He’s just he’s just like a hobbit through and through. You know, he just has a total innocence about him. There’s even a joke in the movie about him being like a hobbit. It you know, they don’t mind going into that territory. It’s it’s great. I loved the characters. I liked the situation.   And I don’t know about you, Craig, as a teacher, you know, and and I’m teaching here Todd, working with smaller kids. That was funny too, the way that they captured all of the little modern bits and about what a school is like and what kids are like nowadays and the fact they’re on medication and things like that. 

Craig:  Yeah. You would think that somebody, you know, one of the writers either has a parent or a spouse or somebody who’s a teacher because they really, you know, it’s it’s obviously kind of, an incredible scenario once we get into the zombie stuff. But, just, you know, kind of the interaction with the kids and like you said, the different types of kids. You’ve got some of the kids who, are, you know, good, normal, well behaved. Then you’ve got the ones that are really entitled and nasty and, talk back and whatnot. But even towards the end of the movie, I think it’s Wade even talks about being a teacher and how being a teacher is such a difficult job and people always think, you know, you must have really wanted to do something else but you couldn’t so instead you ended up teaching and, I, you know, again, that’s that’s pretty late in the movie that he says those things. But being a teacher, I’m like, that’s right. You tell them.   You know, people people I I think teachers don’t get the appreciation that they deserve, and it seems like the creative team behind this, kinda wanted to put that out there a little bit. And I I appreciated that. 

Todd:  Oh, yeah. And I felt like you could have taken the zombies out of this movie. And this still would have been a movie I would have wanted to watch about these teachers at this school and these kids because it was just so funny, and it was so such an interesting situation, period. 

Craig:  Right. Right. And and and if you would do that, I think that you would have something that would be probably it would work really well in television right now. But instead, you know, we do get then this horror element. I guess I I failed to mention that at the very beginning, the very opening scene is actually in this dark disgusting like chicken processing plant, and we get to see in gory detail how the chickens are killed and and processed and, it’s it’s really pretty gross but sadly probably not terribly inaccurate. But some we see that some of this chicken is rotten or school, and this young girl bites into it and it just oozes out all this green sludge and, that’s when the title card, comes up. Yeah. It was disgusting.   But but that’s what happens, you know. This one girl has, eaten, this infected or whatever chicken nugget And, when Clint actually goes to his classroom, he’s he’s subbing for 4th grade. He kinda gets into it with, this little prick kid named Patriot, who plays this rotten asshole kid so well. I didn’t write down the actor’s name, but he he really nails it. He’s really the kind and Elijah Todd said it says at some point that he wishes he could punch him in the face or something and he really plays that kind of kid really well. Clint, Elijah Wood is trying to be the cool teacher.   I know I’m the substitute, but I’m also a friend. 

Clip:  It wasn’t so long ago that 

Craig:  I was sitting exactly where you are. In fact, don’t tell those other teachers, but I want you to call me by my first name. Kind? What? No. You can’t say. Okay. No. My name is Clint. You know what? Just call me mister Hudson.   No. I’m not really a teacher. I’m only substituting to pay the bills. I’m actually writing a horror novel. Pretty cool, 

Clip:  Yeah. Real cool, asshole. 

Craig:  First off, could you keep the language down please, Patriot? Otherwise, I’ll send you outside. Yeah. 

Clip:  When you were just talking, I just looked at, like, a 100 vaginas. 

Craig:  And, and he he, Clint tries to take away his phone, but the kid’s like, how about I tell my parents you touched me inappropriately or something like that? And so he lets him keep it. Patriot is patronizing this girl who he had seen eat the chicken nugget before, and he reaches over to tug on her pony or her pigtail and it comes off, and just leaves a gross wound on her head. And she gets up and she’s clearly some sort of zombie and she attacks Patriot and takes a big bite out of his cheek and then runs off. And, Clint has to take Patriot to the nurse. There’s kind of a funny exchange in there, but we can see, that he is already changing. That this is a rapid change. It’s not something that takes very long at all. Clint comes back, I guess it when all the kids go out to recess, Clint comes back to the teacher’s lounge.   And we didn’t mention all the characters, and and they’re worth mentioning. There’s there’s a male teacher named Tracy played by Jack McBrayer who people would recognize as Kenneth from 30 Rock. You know, I haven’t seen him in a lot of things. He kinda always seems to play the same character but it’s funny, and he’s funny here too. And then you’ve got, Rebecca played by Nassim Todd who like I said, I’ve seen her in other stuff. She just, wrapped up a season of Ryan Murphy’s scream queens and she was good on that. But she is hilarious here. She’s like the uptight conservative one who wears, a rape button, on her lapel, just in case.   And she has, you know, when they are actually in the classroom, which that really doesn’t take much of the movie at all. But we see her in the classroom, and she’s talking about evolution. And her speech about evolution is just one of the funniest things that I’ve heard in a long time. 

Clip:  Class. Maybe we were created by an all knowing Todd who sent down his only son to die for us, Or maybe we were monkey people who sat around crapping in each other’s mouths until one day we were like, I don’t like all this hair. Just on my head and crotch, please. Who can say? I can’t because the state of Illinois doesn’t allow me to, Hank. 

Craig:  Yeah. But anyway, all the kids are out at recess. 1 of Patriot’s friends approaches the girl who had bit him and, says, hey, you bit my friend. And she jumps up and scratches him. He immediately turns and then goes on this rampage running around scratching all the other kids on the playground, and it’s just chaos immediately. All of the kids start turning, into zombies immediately. They start attacking the teachers and there’s just mass carnage. 

Todd:  Yeah. And and of course, the assistant principal who’s sort of this new agey guy trying to be cool and has these ideas. It’s like he has all these ideas for the school that he couldn’t execute as assistant principal. But now that the principal’s away, he’s he wants to try. He comes out and tries to calm the kids down. And and, of course, it’s like Dawn of the Dead style, where they converge on him and they start pulling him apart. And 

Craig:  Yeah. 

Todd:  I mean, it’s really gory. I mean, it is literally It is. The dead style. And so it’s an interesting balance, and I’m sure there are people who would complain about this, except that we’re seeing a lot more movies like this that aren’t afraid to mix this extreme humor with this extreme horror. But at least in in this case, it’s like you’re watching a TV comedy, and so you’re not expecting it to get that gross, so quickly. At the same time, it’s not far removed from, like, zombie land or something like that. And True. And we have Hurley’s character, Rick Rick 

Craig:  who Jorge Garcia. 

Todd:  Jose Jorge Garcia, who’s like the crossing guard at the school. And he has he has, a while ago, retreated into his, van in order to just ingest magic mushrooms, and he takes a lot of them. And it’s really funny because he kind of witnesses this from the from his van and isn’t sure what he does, but he decides he needs to make a phone call anyway. And, I think was this to the assistant principal? Maybe this was actually before the assistant principal came out. But he makes a call, and it’s so funny. 

Craig:  I’m under some medication for medical conditions, so I may not be seeing things correctly, but I’m pretty sure I might be seeing some of your students possibly eating, mister Peterson.   It is really funny. But you’re you’re right. The the gore is pretty intense, and I was a little surprised, because like you said, you don’t often see both extremes, you know, the the really going for the comedy and also paying attention to the horror elements or at least the gore here. I wouldn’t say really the movie is very scary. There’s there’s some good suspenseful scenes where people are being chased and and what not. But it it’s certainly gory. If you’re not a fan of gory, you would not wanna see this I don’t think. You know, like you said, the vice principal comes out and they just totally disembowel him while he’s alive and they’re eating.   They’ve got blood all over their faces and they’re just eating him alive. At one point later on, it just we cut back out the playground where most of these kids are congregated and like, one little girl’s jumping rope with some intestines, one kid is riding a bike with cut off fingers for the the the tire spokes. They’re using they’ve they’ve they’ve put one of the teachers heads at the end of the tetherball rope and they’re playing tetherball with a a head. And it’s all pretty gross and   and the effects are are practical and, pretty convincing.   So you And, pretty convincing. So you definitely get your fair share of gore. 

Todd:  Yeah. It’s gross but goofy. And you feel like maybe they felt like they had to strike that Todd, that they couldn’t get too serious with it because they’re really going to a taboo place here. We don’t usually see, kids, getting getting caught up and getting beat because, of course, they have to fight back at these kids. So they’re shooting them, and they’re beating them over the head bashing them on over the head with it. And when when the violence towards the kids, gets intense, that stuff tends to happen a little more off screen. That stuff tends to be a little more quick cut, Whereas, you know, the obviously, the zombie kids are biting and eating and scratching, and it’s not a thing. But just dealing with kids in general is something that horror movies have traditionally really skated around a bit.   Like, you know, we talked about last week with The Burning, that with even with the slasher movies that take place at a summer camp, it’s usually the counselors that that are getting it. It’s the older ones. It’s the teenagers. It’s not the 5 and 6 year olds, or the 7 or 8 year olds, or the 10 or 11 year olds, who are getting murdered and things. Because for some reason, we don’t mind a huge body count of adults, but you throw in 1 young adult in there and, everybody gets a little uneasy. This movie, I think, probably goes What? Yeah. You know? And don’t you feel like probably a lot of that’s on purpose? A lot of the the the goofiness, the over the top ness of it is to tone that down a little bit? 

Craig:  Maybe. I I just thought that it was a bold decision. You know, you do see evil kid movies sometimes. But like you said, any violence against them is usually pretty downplayed or you don’t see a lot of it on the screen. You know, I’m thinking like Village of the Damned or something or even something like this. I remember the first time I saw it, I thought, Oh, these kids are infected, but it’ll just be a matter of, you know, they the grown ups will just have to stay alive and then somehow, they’ll cure the kids and everybody will be okay and it’ll be a light happy ending. And and that’s not the case here. You know, the kids get infected and they’re infected Todd they’re dangerous.   And, yeah. They I mean, these people, you know, they’re just they’re defending themselves, but they don’t really pull any punches as far as the violence against kids is concerned. And again, you know, these kids, they’re they’re violent, they’re bloody, they’re aggressive, they’re scary. So it’s not like you have a whole lot of empathy for them, but just by nature of the fact that they’re kids, I think that might be a little bit taboo. And so I thought the choice to really just go for it, was a bold choice and I I thought it worked. And it kinda makes the movie stand out from others. 

Todd:  It does. Yeah. You know, and fast forwarding a little bit into the fact that the okay. So everybody realizes that they’re the vamp the zombies out there. Attempts to reach the outside are failing, especially because the vice had collected all the teachers’ cell phones, and so one of the things they decide they can do is maybe try to get back to their cell phones. But in the meantime, the power gets cut at the school, because the kids tear all that out. They don’t really have any way of getting out. Yet they’re still, at least a little before that, and through these different methods, hearing a little bit of contact from the outside to realize that this is spreading through very quickly outside the school.   So, in fact, probably other schools that also got this chicken in the area. The first day was a recall, and then there are weird things happening. And then the mayor is closed down or evacuated half of the Todd, and then you later on realize that other cities are getting this, and it’s just all within a day. 

Craig:  So Right. Right. 

Todd:  So there’s that aspect to it. So the the the teachers and everybody are trapped inside, and they’re trying to figure out what to do. And and the kids are breaching in left and right. And there’s this scene where, Rainn Wilson’s character, Wade, picks up a basically, to defend one of the one of the people from pretty much certain death, happens to bust in. And he picks up a fire extinguisher from the wall and just starts bashing, the zombie kid’s head in repeatedly. And there’s blood spraying everywhere, and it just stops everyone dead in their tracks. Because even though he’s just saved them and he’s bashing the zombie skull in, it’s so brutal. And I think it’s because it’s so brutal toward this kid that everyone just doesn’t know what to say.   It’s this moment where the movie really calls that point out and makes up a point of it and makes a thing of it. But thankfully, it never goes. I didn’t feel like it got uncomfortable. Did you? 

Craig:  I didn’t. No. I didn’t. But I I do. I know what moment you’re talking about and, yeah, it’s it’s almost, you know, they’ve already they’ve seen so much carnage. But the carnage they’ve seen has been at the hands of the kids. And Todd now see the carnage actually against one of the kids, it it like, they literally pause for a moment. And I think that they were also pausing because Wade is now covered in blood.   Yeah.   And if we have any familiarity with, zombie lore at all, it’s that, you know, it’s it’s infectious. And it it usually passes through bites or or cuts or you know, it’s transmitted through bodily fluids. And even before this, we see that Clint, Elijah Wood has started to feel sick and and they ask him if he had gotten bitten or cut or he had a band aid on his arm and they wanna know what it is. And when he takes it off, it Todd does look it’s gross. It’s like it’s infected. And so they think that he must be infected, too, but he’s not turning zombie like. He’s just kinda having like flu like symptoms. And Doug, who I guess is the science teacher tells all of them well. 

Clip:  It is my opinion that Clint has been infected with Yeah. I know. Kids have that. 

Craig:  Oh, my Todd. Oh, my God. 

Clip:  But it doesn’t seem to be affecting him in the same way. He’s only exhibiting mild stomach flu symptoms, nausea, cramps, a little diarrhea, vomiting, mild anal leakage. But it is my hypothesis that we are safe from him for now. He will not attempt to murder us or tear us limb from limb. 

Craig:  She just has the flu. 

Clip:  Hold on a second. How do you how do you know all this? 

Craig:  Well, Rebecca, I just examined his fluids 

Clip:  with 2 of history’s oldest scientific instruments, my hands. Oh, duh. 

Craig:  Oh. I’m wearing gloves. Oh, no. You’re not. 

Clip:  Nope. No. You’re not. 

Craig:  And at at some point, they also you know, they find a little kid, who was studying in the library instead about at recess. And he joins them because he’s not infected. At one point, they they get up on the roof and they’re joined by another young girl, not really young, puberty age as it comes to pass. But that scene, I had almost forgotten. I’m glad I didn’t go pass it. That scene where they’re on the roof, the reason that they’re up there on the roof is because it’s about 3 o’clock and the parents supposed to be arriving. And the 1st parent to arrive is like the head of the PTA or something like that. Yeah.   And she always gets there early to open the gates for the other parents. And so, the teachers are all standing up on the roof like screaming and waving their arms, but she’s on her phone. She’s got her earbuds in on her phone and she’s talking to somebody about the school and talking about how she knows everything that goes down at this school. Meanwhile, she’s totally oblivious Todd what’s going on around her. And this scene was shocking to me because you’ve got this mom, you know, she’s just this pretty soccer mom, but in the back seat, there’s this little blonde baby, and the mom turns around and talks to her and says, You’re my little angel. Or something like that. But her kid who had been at school starts walking towards the car and the other teachers see that and of course, they know and we know that the kid’s a zombie, but the mom’s not paying any attention and so the kid gets in the back seat of the car and I think surely not. You know, like, as far as they push the boundaries already, eating babies, they’re surely not gonna go there, but they sure do.   You know, we don’t see it. We just hear the commotion in the back seat. And finally, the mother says, Now what are you doing with your brother in the back seat? And then it’s so fast that I think that I missed it the first time, but I noticed this time the baby jumps up and and attacks the mother. And so they know they’re they’re probably not getting help, from the parents at that point. Like I said, it’s it’s it’s hard because, you know, the plot it’s not like it’s thin and it and it’s not boring, but it’s basically just they have to stay away from the kids. Wade doesn’t turn even though he’s been splashed with all the blood in his face. Clint doesn’t turn and this other girl that they have picked up, she’s gotten bitten too, but she doesn’t turn either. And so Doug figures out, that it only it only turns people who’ve not yet reached puberty.   And he gives this big, long scientific explanation, which I had absolutely no idea if there’s any actual scientific truth behind what he’s saying. But he sure sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. And so they realize it only affects kids. It may make adults, you know, not feel well, but it Todd doesn’t, affect them the same way. Again, then when they figure that out, it’s just kinda more running around through the schools. But it’s not, you know, when we talked about prom night a few weeks ago, there was this scene where this girl was getting chased through the school and it was just so monotonous and boring and nothing was ever happening. I mean, the the action here is is pretty quick, and, you know, they’re they’re facing, hoards of kids at every turn. At some point, they end up down in the basement and all the powers cut.   And the little boy who they have with him, coincidentally, goes kind of into diabetic shock a little bit or starting to. So they know they have to get them some foods. They have to get back to the teacher’s lounge Todd get to the the vending machine. And and they think while they’re doing that, they can also try to get the phones out of the office and so they’re going through the vents. And and like I said, I didn’t think that the movie was particularly scary but that whole sequence in the vents I thought there was some really good suspense there. Did you think so? 

Todd:  Yeah. I I did. And and, you know, even when they’re all trapped and they’re trying to decide what to do and they’re having the arguments about who’s gonna go up there and who’s the smallest, and they all turn to Elijah Wood and its character. And, you know, he kind of admits and I think he has this great line in there. 

Craig:  Me? No. No. No. No. No. No. No. I I definitely don’t do brave stuff.   Look, I’ve never even been camping. I I have a blog. I I get excited about Apple products. That’s what I’m comfortable with. 

Todd:  I think it even turns out that he’s not even the writer that he says he was. He was actually teaching in New York as well, and obviously his writing, which we kind of figured out anyway, his writing is nothing and he’s not really doing anything. But, there’s a little bit of a spat then, but there’s almost like a love triangle between him and this girl and Wade’s character. Because Wade doesn’t really treat her very well either, like, you wouldn’t expect him to. And it’s just like the circumstance there. That that is interesting. It feels, at times, maybe it was just a little thrown in because you had to have some love interest. You had to have that moment, where after going through the vents, and she went up after him.   Lucy went in there as well because things get a little more intense, and they end up trapped together so they can have this this sort of long dialogue to explain a little bit and then kind of have their moment. But the suspenseful scene, I thought, which I’d really never see in a movie before, is when he’s trying to buy, the item out of the vending machine. And, like, we’re always 

Craig:  Mhmm. 

Todd:  Experiencing at a vending machine, it’s like not taking his dollar. And and, suddenly he hears the zombies coming. So his dollars, like, half stuck in the machine. And so he runs and he hides and you think that he’s okay, but then the machine finally takes the dollar and it the noise of it gets sucked into the machine like attracts the zombie again. I thought, yeah. You know, I’ve seen, like, cats jumping. I’ve seen, like, people accidentally knock some things down. I’ve seen somebody gasp and it it gets the attention of the bad person.   I’ve never seen a vending machine sucking in a dollar before. 

Craig:  Yeah. It was clever. And, like, that’s the thing with with the humor. And I I just think that this movie is is really clever. The the writing is clever, and it’s it’s like, you know, of course, when you’re dealing with zombies, there are certain tropes and rules that you kind of abide by and they they do, for the most part here. But it it doesn’t feel it’s not typical. It’s it’s creative and unique and and I really appreciate that in movies. You know, and it’s it’s independently made.   It wasn’t backed by any big studio or anything. It was only released in a handful of theaters. It didn’t do very well. It went to direct to video, you know, just after a very, very limited engagement. It didn’t get great critical response. It’s I think about 50% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. And I just I it bothers me that these kind of movies that are clever and witty and fresh, that they don’t get more recognition and they don’t get more distribution. Instead, we just get SQL after SQL after SQL and remake after remake when there are people, clearly people out there who are creative and can tell unique and fun stories.   But I guess that’s a little off Todd, a little pet peeve of mine. 

Todd:  Well, I I don’t understand the critical response to this movie Todd be completely honest. You know, I got on in that line and I was reading reviews, and I couldn’t have disagreed more with most of them. I mean, people were saying that they thought it was it got boring or that it was trying to be funny and scary and ended up really being neither, and they felt like it plodded along. And I’m thinking, ‘Did we watch the same movie?’ I mean, was I interested in a really good mood when I saw this? Because I didn’t I just could not agree with most of the criticism. And it bothers me too that this movie just that this is the first I’d heard of it, you know, that this just fell by the wayside Right. When it’s got such a great ensemble cast, and it is so funny. 

Craig:  Well, and it’s it it I guess it’s refreshing to know that there are talented people out there who are willing to work on these projects, probably fully knowing that they’re not going to, you know, be big blockbusters. But they do it because the material’s good. Now you said one of the criticisms was that it got boring. Now I don’t agree with that at all but I think my theory behind that criticism is that the first half hour at least, maybe the first 45 minutes is so funny and the jokes come so quickly that in the last 30 minutes, maybe 45 minutes, it’s almost like they have to move the plot along, so the jokes don’t come as quickly. And I could see where there is kind of a shift in energy. Now I didn’t, I wasn’t bothered by it. I didn’t think it was boring at all. But I I I wasn’t laughing as much.   I was certainly still laughing a lot, but not as much in the first half. And so I can kinda maybe see where that criticism comes from even though I really don’t agree. 

Todd:  Yeah. I mean, your expectations have to be I guess, you’re right. Maybe it sets this expectation you’re gonna be laughing every minute because you are. But, man, at least give the movie some credit that it went there. You know? Give the movie some credit that you did laugh a whole heck of a lot at the beginning. And then when the plot moved along, you know, the plot moved along like it should, and it didn’t seem to take forever. I mean, I felt like the movie was was almost really short. It was it felt like a short movie.   Did it not? I mean, it 

Clip:  wasn’t a 2 hour movie. 

Craig:  Yeah. And it is. 

Todd:  And it is. But it’s, you know, it’s not 60 minutes, but it’s it’s about a good solid hour and a half. No. Right. But that’s a testament, you know? I mean, a good movie’s kinda like a kinda like a good day out, you know? Before you know it, the the evenings come and you gotta go home and you feel a little sad because you were really enjoying yourself, you know. And I felt like that was that was how I experienced this movie. 

Craig:  Yeah. Oh, yeah. I totally agree. And you know, whereas, maybe they pulled back a little bit on the comedy, there’s definitely suspense. Like you were talking about that whole vent scene. There’s a really cool scene where they are in the vents, Clint and, the girl, Lucy. And, they they climbed up into it from the basement, but as they’re crawling through, there’s a vent above, a floor vent and there’s one of those creepy little kids just riding a bike around the vent. And the kid hears them and they just freeze where they are in the vent.   And the kid gets down and looks in and they’re, like, face to face with this zombie. But I don’t know if it’s because they’re not moving or because it’s dark in the vent. She doesn’t see them, but it’s really tense and scary in that moment, just the proximity that they’re so close. And then when they finally end up getting chased through the vents, you know, I again, I wasn’t scared but, you know, I was on the edge of my seat, you know. They’re fleeing. These kids are right on their heels. And so, I thought it was exciting. Anything but boring.   Eventually, I guess, everybody reconvenes in the basement where they’ve also hooked up with this janitor named Hitachi, who is, you know, just kinda your stock Asian character who, you know, whips out some ninja moves, later on. And, they decide that they’re gonna have to get out and they make a plan that they’re gonna arm themselves and that they are just gonna fight their way to Wade’s truck, this big truck, with dual rear wheels, which Wade can’t say and it’s a gag that goes along.   It’s hilarious. You remember how in that movie, commando, and every other eighties action film, there was that suiting up montage? Well, this is that scene. Yeah. Now they’ve got us outnumbered, outgunned, and outnumbered, But there’s one thing we have that they don’t, the drive to win. 

Clip:  They seem very 

Craig:  driven to me. We need to turn this room inside out. Look under every shelf, inside every box, out of anything you or someone else can use. You gotta select everything. You gotta have bats, tools, ropes, and things, anything that has a spike on it, anything that’s serrated. We’re not really into that.   And that’s exactly what they do. And, somebody I I think Doug gets a hockey stick. Rebecca gets these 2 giant cymbals, musical, like, drum set cymbals that she’s gonna fight with. And, Wade arms himself with, like, he straps a pitching machine to his back so that he can just shoot baseballs, at these kids. He says, I’ve played dodgeball with these kids for the past 6 years or whatever. Go for the head. 

Todd:  Yeah. He’s like, go for 

Craig:  the head. 

Clip:  And and 

Craig:  they do. They just   state point. Yeah.   And they just suit up, and, you know, it’s it’s like they’re just kind of this rag tag band of warriors or superheroes or something and they just do. They they fight their way through the halls of the, school. Wade’s shooting kids with the baseballs left and right. They get out into, the the playground where there are just tons of kids and they all come at them and there’s just this really fun, you know, action packed fight scene where they’re just taking these kids down. Doug’s, you know, checking some of them in the head with the the hockey stick and then he’ll, you know, foot sweep some of them and, Rebecca’s got her cymbals and she’s, you know, clapping kids’ heads in the cymbals and using them as, like, flying discs to take kids out. I thought it was a lot of fun. I love that scene. 

Todd:  It was great. It was and again, you get scenes like this in, again, those eighties action movies. This is a parody of it with all this absurdity and, of course, against these kids. But it was fun that they didn’t pull these punches again in the violence toward the kids. And, it’s just so funny that you can’t take it seriously. And even Wade has his moment where he sort of saves the group because he gets beset by the zombies, and they’re all over him. And it’s clearly he’s not gonna make it out, but he’s like, go on. Go on.   Go ahead. Take care of her. He says to, to Clint, you know, kind of wrapping all that love triangle stuff up as he goes down so that you could feel good. It’s it’s so, it’s so much like about 15 or 20 other films that you’ve seen, and they’re obviously playing that up for the comedy. 

Craig:  Like you said, it it’s it’s parody. It’s it’s spoof, but it’s a really fun action sequence. Like, I was excited like, you know, I’m on the edge of my seat with a big smile on my face like, Yeah, get them. It was it was a lot of fun. But like you said, Wade kinda seems to sacrifice himself. 

Todd:  Yeah. And, you know, I think a lot of it is too because we like these characters. You know? We really like these characters. Right. They’re they’re not they’ve really endeared themselves to us over the course of this of the time. And there’s not a one of them that you don’t wanna see survive, I think. You know, there’s not that one all uber jerk that you’re, you know, you’re you’re really gunning to, to get it. And I felt at 

Craig:  the beginning of the movie that Wade would be that guy, and it 

Todd:  turns out he wasn’t that guy at all. They end up going out to, the next town over, and they’re running out of gas. And even there, it’s funny because they’re, it’s Danville and they’re talking about how much they hate Danville. It’s that, it’s that small town, small neighboring town rivalry like Springfield and Shelbyville on the Simpsons or whatever. 

Craig:  You’re right. You do really get involved with these characters and invested in them. And that’s another way that I think the movie kind of subverts your expectations. Because usually in these type of movies where you have an ensemble of protagonists, usually, you slowly watch them get picked off 1 by 1 until there’s only 1 or 2 standing at the end. And pretty much everybody makes it through this. I mean, adults get killed, but there are adults that were only introduced to for a couple of seconds. All of these adults who we have gotten to know and we’ve gotten to see their personalities, they make it. And I like that and it was kind of, unexpected, and and I appreciated it. 

Todd:  Well, they even call attention to it at one point. I remember an earlier scene in The Office when the zombie breaks in and immediately takes out this lady and and and, like, basically runs her into a closet. And they all turn around and they go, who was that? Where did she come from? 

Craig:  Well, they’re there in Danville and they get out of the truck, the truck runs out of gas and, they’re, you know, kind of on the main street or whatever downtown and there’s this big shop window that’s full of TVs and that’s where they see that this has spread, all over the place, you know, different states. So they know it’s not just them. They turn around and there are these zombie kids, Danville kids I guess, all over their truck and they start chasing the zombies start chasing them. And they chase them into what I can only guess was something like, oh, gosh. What are those pizza places called where kids play games and 

Todd:  Oh, yes. You know 

Craig:  what I’m talking about? 

Todd:  Yeah. It was like a tunnel town or something like that. 

Craig:  And, of course, they’re just they figure out that it must have been the chicken nuggets somehow. And Doug says if he could get his hands on some of those chicken nuggets, maybe he can make a vaccine. You know, it’s it’s goofy stuff. But they end up in this this place where it looks like there is a birthday party, or something. And of course, all these kids are now zombies and they’re standing in those big like climbing net things, that almost look like monkey cages or something. And they’re rattling, you know, the the netting like it’s monkey cages and you think that there’s no way out that these people, you know, are are doomed, when come through the wall, backs this van and and out hops Wade, who has, survived and, has followed them there and he rescues them and the stoner Rick is, you know, driving the car and and they drive off. And that’s kind of it. You know, it’s it’s an open ended ending.   It it it almost felt like I can’t imagine that they would have ever thought that this movie would be successful enough to warrant a sequel, But they still left it on that feel like it wasn’t finite, you know. You you don’t know what’s gonna happen. Things don’t just get tied up neatly in a bow and and everything’s okay. They just kinda drive off into the unknown and and that’s where the movie ends. 

Todd:  Yeah. And and it it felt right. It felt fine. It didn’t bother me that it ended that way. And you’re right. I can’t imagine that they thought a sequel would happen. And, I mean, where do you take a sequel from here? You’ve kind of taken a lot of your best gags and used them already. I mean, you’ve you’re in all the places where kids are.   You know? You’ve done the school and the teachers, and you’ve played with that relationship between the kids and their teachers. You’ve gone to the tunnel town, the birthday party, and you’ve see it’s almost set up like an arena. You have to know, like, this is the kids’ domain, that they’ve they’ve they’re in their lair there. And and so I don’t know. Like, you you can’t you can only go so far with this premise before it, loses, a bit of that humor and that edge that you get just from the idea itself. It’s almost like a one idea movie. You know? I mean, don’t you feel that way? Like, how where else can you really go with comedy kids and keep it funny? 

Craig:  Doctor. Right. No, I totally agree. And and I think that that’s fine. You know, I I don’t know. You know, there’s so many different kinds of movies. You know, the big summer blockbusters, you know, they always, set it up so they could potentially be a sequel, and then there usually is. But I really kind of appreciate these movies that probably the creators and producers know that it’s gonna be a one off and that’s alright.   Yeah. You know, we’re seeing that a lot more, in television too with these limited run series. You know, just tell your story and and wrap it up and then the story’s over and and that’s fine. We don’t necessarily need a whole string of sequels to continue the story and, I, you know, I I just think that this movie is really just kind of a diamond in the rough and I I am sad that more people haven’t heard of it And I will be telling people about it. You know? I’m gonna be telling people, you need to see this movie. It’s it’s it’s hilarious and it’s really, you know, it’s a Todd, well made, well acted, well shot film. I I just really liked it. 

Todd:  Well, I think, you know, the movie’s definitely gonna get a boost, from this podcast. There are probably a good 5 or 

Craig:  6 people 

Todd:  that will see this movie that haven’t seen it before. And so that with that, I feel like I’m really doing my part. 

Craig:  Thank you for, listening to another episode. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with, your friends or in your circles on your Facebook page or whatever. We are on iTunes. We’re on Stitcher. You find us on Facebook, on Google Plus. We love to hear from you folks. So if you have any comments, questions, suggestions for movies that we should watch, we would love to hear them. Feel free to join the conversation.   But until next time, I’m Craig 

Todd:  And I’m Todd. 

Craig:  With 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

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