Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Scouts Guide movie poster

Release: Friday, October 30, 2015

[Theater]

Written by: Christopher Landon; Carrie Evans; Emi Mochizuki

Directed by: Christopher Landon

Where will you be when the apocalypse happens? With any luck, within reach of your trusty Swiss Army Knife!

Yes, I saw this film and yes I chose to watch it in a theater. Now that you’re doubting my credibility, I’ll try and stage a comeback here by arguing that watching zombies getting their heads lopped off by a trio of high school-aged scouts on a big screen carries with it a certain level of satisfaction. Satisfaction of the oh-man-I’m-pretty-buzzed-right-now-and-this-movie-is-already-better-because-of-it variety. Wait, I guess you can still do that at home. But the big screen. Okay, yeah, that’s my saving grace. It’s just on a bigger screen.

The film’s title leaves little to the imagination, which isn’t much of a surprise. What’s even more clear is how time-sensitive a film it is. Clearly pumped out just in time to make a beeline for the wallets of any teen who’s grown out of the trick-or-treating phase, Scouts Guide still manages to fall short of its potential. And this was a potentially very fun movie.

Christopher Landon (who’s behind Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) settles for a nonchalant, dare I say inept, style of directing that neither allows his talented cast nor interesting premise (I’m getting ahead of myself — potential premise) to flourish. Instead of gritting its teeth and plowing headlong into the realm of the ridiculous, his film instead retreats into yet another all-too-comfortable suburban tale of a group of innocent high schoolers who end up becoming the least-likely saviors of a very small town. I take less of an issue with the scope of the outbreak as I do with how pedestrian this affair becomes.

I’m complicit in this too, though: I bought a ticket. I gambled too much on the unique title.

Long time friends Ben (Tye Sheridan), Carter (Logan Miller) and Augie (Joey Morgan) are out on a camping trip as the last of a dying breed at their high school. They’re seemingly the only ones interested in Boy Scouts, but it’s Augie who is all gung-ho about the experience. The other two have resigned themselves to simply giving Augie moral support as neither of them believe in their extracurricular activities anymore, particularly when being led by Supreme Dork Scout Leader Rogers (David Koechner). During their camp-out the three have a semi-falling out when Augie catches the others sneaking off in the middle of the night to attend a party. Because, high school.

Soon weird things start happening, weird things that have been alluded to from the film’s ridiculous opening, a scene featuring Blake Anderson in an amusing but all too brief cameo. Inexplicably the gang are caught off-guard by a hoard of zombies who were, presumably, regular, tax-paying citizens. They form an alliance with a cocktail waitress — not a stripper (played with refreshing honesty by Sarah Dumont) — and begin fending off waves of lame zombies. They retreat away from the very convenience store they were earlier trying to dupe into selling them alcohol using a random drunk to do the dirty work, seeking shelter in a neighborhood that may or may not be relevant. Who cares.

Simultaneously the film retreats into formulaic self-defense strategy quicker than you can say ‘Cloris Leachman.’ (She’s a highlight of the film, receiving a juicy zombie part where she gets to bite poor Augie in the ass.) I am fully prepared to admit this moment is worth the watch. It’s priceless. For everything else this gimmicky titled production promises, there’s MasterCard.

That doesn’t even make sense. Neither does the Britney Spears rendition in the middle of the movie, nor the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it homage to The Thing. Nor the movie as a whole. Sometimes that’s enough to be entertaining, but when the overall direction is so lackluster, a lack of logic is more apocalyptic than anything.

Recommendation: Falling well short of its limited potential, Scouts Guide is a mixture of lame acting, special effects, some boobs, and limited roles for both David Koechner and Blake Anderson. Film does feature a strong female lead in Sarah Dumont, and that is certainly worth mentioning. Everything else though is uninspired, quickly thrown together for those hungover on the day after Halloween. 

Rated: R

Running Time: 93 mins.

Quoted: “Why the f**k do you think everyone’s eating each other?”

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Photo credits: http://www.collider.com; http://www.imdb.com

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19 thoughts on “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

  1. LOL oh Tom! I don’t know if I will ever be able to sit through it, but glad to see that, on screen, you got some gratification out of it!

    • This movie is a whole lot better with some beers down! Haha! Unfortunately, it isn’t that great still. It had one job to do! One! To be as over-the-top as possible (look at that title!) But it fell a little short there. Damn.

      I will say it was cool to have a strong female supporting role here. The cocktail waitress isn’t all for show! 😉

    • Haha yeah it’s not the greatest but I went in full prepared to like it no matter what direction it headed in. It didn’t do too much to reinvent the wheel (if anything at all; the title is about the most unique thing about it) but it also doesn’t do much harm. I’ve seen worse. 🙂

  2. Well, damn! I was really wanting to see this one, Tom (I don’t care what people think – I like what I like!). 😉 Sounds like a lot of wasted potential. But I’ll still probably see it as there’s nothing else out that I’m interested in seeing at the moment…

    • Yeah this one is okay, it doesn’t do anything crazy though which is a shame given the title. You’ll have to let me know what you think of it when you see it.

  3. I haven’t heard great things, but this is at least the first review from a ‘trusted’ source, I’m just sorry you had to sit through it.

    • Some funny parts here and there help save it from being a total train wreck but it leaves too much to be desired to warrant a recommendation from me. Thanks for reading as always Vic, and for the comments!

    • Thanks, I was left wanting. Which is weird because this isn’t exactly the sort of movie you should bring any expectations into. That was my fault. Haha

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