Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

SG1

Boy scouts Ben, Carter, and Augie are forced to use their scout training for survival when their town is overrun by the living dead.

Before you ask, yes, we have a Zombie Scouts, and yes, it’s essentially the exact same thing as Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts with survival training and lessons in responsibility, just geared towards the undead and with less emphasis on being a child. Zombie Scouts are important for zombies of any age, so if you’re lucky, you make it past those first few harrowing days of being turned and end up being able to attend some lessons, whether you’re a child or an adult. Besides, when you’re a zombie, age doesn’t matter that much. We have children that are in actuality older than the oldest human still among the living. Zombie Scouts is pretty important considering all the things you learn, stealth hunting, how to quickly patch yourself up until you can make it to a union hall for proper repairs, different bite techniques, the tastiest parts of the human anatomy, and a host of other lessons that help one to be a better zombie. There’s also the discussions that need to be had about family and how they might now murder you, or re-murder as the case may be, about taking care of your fellow undead since the living will always be on the lookout for ways to exterminate us, and about where to buy and how to use the products that help us to blend in when we don’t want to be noticed (coverall is the greatest invention ever). It’s also a heck of a lot messier since the snacks served tend to bleed all over the place, but that’s how you get another good lesson, how to use a mop when your arms don’t bend very easily.

Our film begins at a Department of Defense research station where a bored janitor (played by Workaholics’ Blake Anderson) has decided to liven up his night by playing with a corpse, one that’s not entirely dead. The end result is small horde of zombies making their way towards a nearby town where teenage Boy Scouts Ben, Carter, and Augie are preparing for a campout with their scout leader Rodgers. Ben and Carter are ready to move on from the scouts, but afraid to tell Augie due to the teen’s dedication not just to the organization, but to Rodgers as well. While Ben is afraid of hurting his good friend’s feelings, Carter couldn’t care less as long as it allows the pair to attend an upcoming party outside of town that’s guaranteed to be the party to remember. The problem is that the party is the same night as the campout, and when Augie finds out his friends plan on ditching him, the trio part ways with Ben and Carter going to pick up supplies for the party and Augie going to look for the missing Rodgers. What none of the them know is that while they were arguing in the woods, their town was being overrun with the undead, and by the time they get back, it’s only blind luck and a tough as nails cocktail waitress that keeps them from joining the horde. The three friends will have to put aside their differences and work together if they expect to not only survive themselves, but save the kids at the party who’ve set themselves up as an all you can eat buffet.

SCOUTS VS. ZOMBIES

{At least they’re dressed for the occasion}

Teenagers in movies seem to generally fall into one of two categories, oversexed morons who couldn’t tell you what 2+2 equals and socially awkward nerds who spend their time pining over the popular kids. Well, if it’s a more adult orientated movie anyways (which we all know are never marketed towards kids younger than eighteen), if it’s specifically a teen movie, then adults are bitter idiots who need their teenager’s ability to understand the world to save them from a mundane life of paying bills. I’m of course using hyperbole, but it’s true more often than not. Hollywood, and a lot of people over the age of thirty, like to think of teenagers as little more than walking hormones with half a brain. I get it, I’m in the over thirty range myself, and every time I hear teenage slang I want to rip my eardrums out if only so I’ll never again be assaulted by the word “bae.” The styles don’t make any sense, I can’t stand much of the music teens listen to, and I have the strange urge to scream at them to get off my lawn even when I see them in a restaurant, but I also remember what it was like to be that age, so I try to ignore my old man impulses and offer a little understanding while I tell them about how much better things were in my day because nostalgia is a hell of a thing. Unfortunately, most movies don’t care that teenagers aren’t stupidity personified (except for Chad because he’s Chad), and write basic characters that appeal to no one unless they’re being murdered by a masked assailant with mommy issues. That’s why it’s especially nice when a movie like Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse comes along with teenage characters that feel like actual people instead of sentient tropes given life.

SG3

{They look so cute when they’re terrified}

I loved the film’s three zombie fighting Boy Scouts, Ben, Carter, and Augie, though of course my favorite was Augie because us fat kids have to stick together like that (we wrote it into our charter decades back). I really expected Augie to be nothing more than a walking fat joke since that’s usually what the fat kid is there for in any movie, but just like with the other two, the writers put a lot of work into creating good characters instead of being lazy and falling back on old jokes and tired stereotypes. It was great being treated to teenage characters that were well written, played by great young actors, and had some immensely enjoyable dialogue between them. That’s not to mean they don’t act like teenagers, them sneaking into the strip club when they think it’s safe was hilarious, just that they aren’t solely comprised of tropes from 80’s teen comedies. They couldn’t have picked a better trio of actors either as the three of them worked extremely well together, to the point it was easy to believe that these three had been friends all their short lives. What made these three even more enjoyable was the addition of Denise to their group. Denise is a cocktail waitress from the aforementioned strip club who manages to keep them alive, and so of course the three teens are head over heels for the older, more experienced, woman. Even the lovelorn Ben who holds a flame for Carter’s older sister has trouble around Denise, so their reactions towards her added to the film’s humor. My only regret when it came to the characters was that I didn’t get to see more of Rodgers who only has a minimal, if hilarious, presence. Rodgers is played by the always funny David Koechner, and his zombified antics are a riot.

SG8

{His trying to keep the hair piece on, even as a zombie, only makes him that much funnier}

Speaking of funny, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is definitely a comedic zombie flick, not to the point I’d call it a zombedy or whatever (I hate that term), but it’s certainly humorous. Much of the humor comes from the situations the scouts find themselves a part of with very little coming from dumb one liners or stupid jokes. That’s not to say the humor doesn’t work its way into the dialogue, just that they don’t rely on it nor is it “zinger” based when they do. Some of it is kind of crass and juvenile, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t cracking up when a zombie’s dentures get stuck and pop out after she tried to bite a scout’s ass or when a zombie’s wang-dang-doodle is the only perch available to keep a scout from falling into a mass of the hungry dead. They might be ridiculous, but they were funny, and thanks to the excellent effects work, they looked great, though in the case of the dick save, I’m not sure exactly how good of a thing that is.

SG9

{That’s not taffy he’s holding onto}

My discomfort at seeing a zombie’s penis stretch to its breaking point aside, I was immensely impressed by the FX work. This is really saying something considering my absolute hatred of CGI gore. Yes, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse uses CGI for some of the gore, but I was okay with it for two reasons, one, it’s used sparingly, and two, when it is used, it’s for insane scenes that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. The last stand scene at the end is a great example; it’s amazing, chaotic, and full of some great zombie kills. You already knew there was going to be a point where the scouts are forced to use their training to construct weaponry for the purpose of taking out the zombie horde, not only do they show it in the preview (I’m really starting to dislike how much previews ruin movies anymore), but it just makes sense that it would eventually happen, but it doesn’t matter because when it finally occurs, it is an awesome and amazing scene. I’d go so far as to say that even if the rest of the movie had been terrible, I would still recommend it just for the last stand scene alone. Not only does it look great, but there are so many imaginative ways in which zombies are taken out with creatively invented weapons.

SG5

{They even manage to make those uniforms look badass}

My only complaint is that I wish the zombies had been a little more consistent with how they acted. Some are fast, some are slow, some can sprint faster than a cheetah, same goes for their strength (some are super strong, stronger than a human could be, for whatever reason) and their intelligence (some are smart, some are dumb). Still, the makeup work is impressive enough that I was far happier with how they looked than I was disappointed in how they acted. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse might not have the most consistent walking dead, but it’s still a great zombie movie that’s a lot of fun to watch. I’d highly recommend checking this one out.

 

The Undead Review

 

 

Directed By: Christopher Landon (Burning Palms, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones)

Starring: Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse, The Tree of Life), Logan Miller (I’m in the Band, Ultimate Spiderman), Joey Morgan (Compadre, Flower), and Sarah Dumont (Don Jon, Playing It Cool)

Written By: Carrie Lee Wilson (College Road Trip), Emi Mochizuki (College Road Trip), and Christopher Landon (Viral, Disturbia)

Released By: Paramount Pictures, Broken Road Productions, and Oops Doughnuts Productions

Release Year: 2015

Release Type: Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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