Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, 2015.
Directed by Christopher Landon.
Starring David Koechner, Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont, Halston Sage. Niki Koss, Lukas Gage, and Cloris Leachman.
Three scouts, on the eve of their last camp-out, discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak.
Attention grabbing always proves to be challenging. Even when writing these reviews I bring to you week after week, I usually stare at a blank screen with a title for a good five minutes before coming up with a good lede. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t suffer from this problem at all; if anything its opening sequence exposing how this viral zombie epidemic occurred might just be the peaking point of the film. It’s also certainly one of the funnier scenes of 2015, but most importantly establishes an off-the-wall illogical tone ripe with inconsistencies, even for lore as wild as zombies. Nothing in Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse makes any sense, and for better or worse, that’s the intention.
This is a zombie comedy where some humans that become reanimated actually retain their personality, yet are still robbed of basic human functions such as talking and thinking. I shouldn’t have laughed at a scene so stupid, but there is a point where our protagonists cross paths (again) with a drunken belligerent bum, only he’s now a drunken belligerent bum zombie. What ensues is the zombie mimicking their movements, and eventually everyone performing a rendition of Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. It’s such a ridiculous, one-off encounter because most zombies, aside from running, adhere to the genre tropes. So when a moment like this comes along, you’re not sure whether to be confused or just laugh. Truth be told, just going along with the shenanigans makes Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse a mildly enjoyable experience.
It’s just a shame that Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t fully embrace this lunacy, as it often gets bogged down by preaching life lessons about being yourself and staying in Scouts in spite of pursuing pussy. If there was one movie that should have continued into overdrive with its un-politically correct nature, this is it. The effects of this are really felt with a first act that takes far too long to reach any action, and an overall narrative that doesn’t turn its heroes into zombie genociding badasses until its conclusion. If, somehow, this movie is a financial success and receives a sequel, I anticipate it being a hell of a lot more fun solely because the origins are already established, leaving room for nothing but creative weaponry and gore-tastic kills. When Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse finally utilizes its titular premise, its unfortunately credits time.
There are attempts at humor along the way, but unfortunately it feels like shit being flung at a wall. The hit to miss ratio is all over the place, with many of the sexual gags in particular feeling lazily juvenile in particular, although there are quite a few that land. Most definitely, a scene where a girl gets eaten out by a zombie garnered some legitimate shock laughs.
The three children (aside from the dimwitted overweight outcast of the group) are all depicted as your average modern-day teenagers (they’re interested in sex, parties, maturing, and uhh… sex) and although they are likable, you once again don’t grow full appreciation for them until they start saving the day. A better film would ditch the stereotypes and friendly betrayal nonsense to go all-in in on Scouts slaying zombies.
This transition is largely spurred into motion due to a smoking sexpot of a cocktail waitress with an expertise in guns; she basically minimizes their bickering, causes their balls to drop (not literally), and teaches them more boring life lessons about staying true to ones self. Hey, people are clamoring for strong female leads, and well, you have one here in the most unexpected fashion. It works though and makes Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse more fun than it has any right to be.
To say that Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is a good movie would be a gross exaggeration, but given the timing of its release here in America, it’s undeniably hard not to admit finding the slightest bit of joy. Horror fans will most definitely find a way to spin this one into a cult classic. Just roll with the chaos and spread some Halloween cheer, because goddammit, I kind of want a sequel. Just ease up on the cheesy friendship crap and CGI gore, and make room for more unbelievably stupid comedy, offbeat zombies, and mayhem.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★