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One of the hardest tickets to get at this year's Sundance Film Festival was for the midnight premiere of "Cooties," a film by Jonathan Millott and Cary Murnion, but thanks to a miracle from a publicist on the film, I managed to get into the Egyptian, and I had a pretty darn good time in the process.
We featured an interview here the other day with Elijah Wood and his two partners in Spectrevision, his production company that is focused on genre movies that defy easy description, and that credo is on full display in both "Cooties" and "A Girl Who Walks Home Alone At Night," which they also produced. "Cooties" is one of those films that is doing several different things at once, and it's not easy to bring those together in a way that feels like one coherent voice.
Talking to Milott and Murnion, I was struck by how much fun they appeared to be having at the festival, and that translates into a giddy nervous energy that drives a lot of "Cooties," something that benefits the film. I'm sure these guys never realized just how hot a ticket their film would be at the festival, focusing instead on just trying to make something that entertained them. It's hard to predict why something will or won't turn into a hot ticket before it has screened at a festival, but in this case, it was a combination of the large ensemble cast including Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Allison Pill, Jorge Garcia, Jack McBrayer, and co-screenwriters Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan. The idea of a film like this that's written by one of the creators of "Saw" with one of the creators of "Glee" sounds like it'll be a notably whacko collision of styles and voices, and that is indeed the case.
"Cooties" became one of the big acquisition stories from the fest, with Lionsgate signing on. There is plenty of room for them to make more movies with this one as a starting point, and I'm curious to see if Milott and Murnion would stay involved or if they're happy just setting the stage. Either way, I'm going to be paying attention when these guys direct anything in the future, and I think you get a sense of that shared voice of theirs from our conversation.
"Cooties" will arrive in theaters later this year from Lionsgate.
Everything: Sundance Film Festival
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