Written by J. Weagle
Always Bring Protection.
It’s hard not to feel at least a little bad for Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. To say that it was marketed horribly would be an understatement, but also the fact that the film tries to achieve many things and does a decent job at doing so to little fanfare. It’s a film that is in that difficult position of being marketed towards a younger audience but with an R rating attached it was almost doomed to fail for the very beginning.
The plot is for the most part, pretty basic. We follow a group of three high school kids, each having a stereotypical archetype attached to them whether it’s the funny guy who loves to party, the awkward nerdy one and the the level headed sensitive type. Some freak unexplained accident at a lab unleashes a viral outbreak turning the small town into zombies. As I said a pretty typical plot, however this time the three kids are Scouts and will use their survival skills to save the town and bond together. There’s some other nonsense about getting to a big party being held by some of the cooler kids, and a cocktail waitress who is really good with a shotgun thrown in for good measure.
I’m in no way about to defend anything to do with the storyline, because it’s all pretty typical stuff that does enough of a job to drive the plot forward. It attempts to deal with themes such as what it means to be a friend, and standing up for yourself which is very reminiscent of the young adult adventure films from the 1980’s. In fact that is what Scouts Guide attempts to be, a homage to films that no longer exist such as The Goonies, and Adventures in Babysitting. There are a few nods that pop up here and there and overall the film does a good job at wearing its influences on its sleeve.
The effects and gags are pretty decently setup (theres a good one involving a broken beer bottle and a zombie strippers face) though it probably could have benefited from a few more gory visible deaths. One of my main complaints are with the zombies themselves, in that there doesn’t seem to be any logic attached to them. I’m fine with running zombies, slow zombies, smart zombies etc as long as there is a set of rules to how they behave and the film sticks to it. This movie does a pretty horrible job at doing just that and we get a mix of viral creatures that all seem to act differently depending on the situation and the set piece that is trying to be set up.
The acting is well done, and I couldn’t really find a weak performance besides a few of the more minor characters. The three leads have good chemistry and played off each other well which is without a doubt the glue that holds the film together.
Despite the flaws I had with it, and the fact that calling it a box office failure is an understatement I had a rather enjoyable time with Scouts Guide. The humour is kept to a rather tame level and a few of the jokes and music reeked of the new millennium but I could easily look past that when I realize the film wasn’t necessarily targeting my age group. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is a film that is targeted towards modern teenagers who want a little more gore, comedy and nudity in their horror. It’s not a complicated movie and it is in no way trying to be, but what it lacks in effects and plot it makes up for with heart and a film with some heart goes along way with me.