‘Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse’ Review
After a rather weak intro in which comedian Blake Anderson (from Workaholics fame) makes many failed attempts to get us to laugh in his role as “clumsy janitor who listens to Iggy Azalea and accidentally triggers a zombie outbreak”, the Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse film shows a promising premise.
This is the story of three high school sophomore friends who have been together in the Scouts organization since they were children. Ben (Tye Sheridan) is the classic low-key cute boy that nobody has discovered yet. Carter (Logan Miller) is the loud, extroverted, creepy friend who only wants to finally have sex and get drunk.
Augie (Joey Morgan) is the chubby, loyal, noble-hearted friend and the most dedicated scout of all. Apparently, Augie is the only reason Ben and Carter have stayed with the organization for so long. All are under the command of weirdo Scout Leader Rogers (played by the great David Koechner), who uses a horrendous toupee and is a die-hard fan of Dolly Parton.
However, within minutes, the best character in that group, Scout Leader Rogers, is quickly turned into a zombie, thus eliminating that role’s huge potential.
And that’s what happens during almost all the film. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse displays a great potential that never really gets exploited.
Ben and Carter want to move forward with their lives, and that means abandoning the Scouts. And the opportunity to literally do that arises when, on the same Scout camping night, they both get invited (for the first time) to a secret popular party. After mounting the tents and confirming that Augie has fallen asleep, both decide to sneak out. Ben’s motivation is doubled by the fact that he is in love with Carter’s popular sister (Halston Sage).
But precisely on that night, a zombie outbreak has undermined the town. Ben and Carter meet Denise (Sarah Dumont), a high school dropout who now works in a stripper bar and who embodies the essential role of “the one prepared for zombies”. With a shotgun in hand and rocking a Lara Croft attire and badass attitude, she saves the lives of our protagonists more than once.
Unrealistically (more like a big plot hole), the entire town has been notified and evacuated from the outbreak in less than two hours (extras are expensive!). The only ones who have not been notified are all those attending the secret party. And that’s when our quartet (Augie realizes the “betrayal” and reluctantly joins the rest of the group) decides to save the night.
And, of course, they will not only use full Scout gear but will apply everything learned during all these years of camping, which includes, apparently, looting a Home Depot and making weapons with PVC pipes, nails and lawn mowers. The obvious Scouts motto “Be Prepared” gains full force in here.
The tone of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is quite unstable. In a moment, there is a super noble scene between three friends who have been separated by the pressure of being popular. In another, there is a zombie with giant tits which is sexually attacked by one of the protagonists.
In another moment, the protagonist learns how to give a tender first kiss. Seconds later, that same character is about to fall from a second floor and the only thing he could grab to save himself is the rotten penis of a middle aged zombie (the penis, of course, ends up tearing apart).
What's Your Rating For Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse?
It’s as if a Disney movie had a last minute quick rewrite to insert about five or six trashy jokes. And with four writers (Carrie Evans, Emi Mochizuki, Christopher B. Landon and Lona Williams), the unstable tone is understandable.
That humor instability makes the viewer not connect much with the movie. That sensation of randomness (and not even a very edgy one) was the main reason why this movie wasn’t a box office hit, or a critical success or even a weird cult little film.
Don’t get it twisted, though, it isn’t boring. The visual effects, the good chemistry between the characters, some good scenes, and its short duration makes it an enjoyable experience.
But by not committing to any of its sub-genres, the feeling that remains is that of a half-cooked tale. This is not a great high school comedy, nor is it a sexual coming-of-age story. As a splatter, it’s quite tamed. Should you watch Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse? This is a modest mix that could offer an OK Netflix evening viewing on a lazy evening, but not much else. Another film poster that is better than the viewing itself. Check out my zombie comedy list for better examples in the genre.
Zombie Movie Details
Title: Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Release Year: 2015
Director(s): Christopher Landon
Writer(s): Carrie Lee Wilson, Emi Mochizuki
Actors: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, a.o.
Runtime: 1 hour 33 minutes
© 2019 Sam Shepards