Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is far from the first movie to put a comedic spin on zombies. We’ve seen this before in Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, and Warm Bodies, but this satire of sorts isn’t as smart or funny as any of the comedies listed above. If you’re looking for a gorier alternative to Goosebumps, though, Scouts Guide is a fun way to spend your Halloween night. It’s also a much more competent film than something like Zombie Strippers, although a zombie stripper does actually make an appearance here.
Our heroes are the typical teenage geeks you’d expect to see in a movie like this. Tye Sheridan from Mud plays Ben, the most well-rounded of the bunch. Logan Miller is Carter, the foulmouthed one who’s obsessed with getting laid. There’s also Joey Morgan as Augie, the designated fat kid. They’ve all been in scouts together since grade school, meaning that they’re prepared for anything. Accompanied by Sarah Dumont as a stripper cocktail waitress with a heart of gold, the three put their scout training to effective use when zombies attack, and rise up as unlikely heroes.
While the story isn’t anything special, director Christopher Landon of the Paranormal Activity movies knows how to set up a creative action set piece. Any film that manages to work Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 theme into a zombie attack is clearly doing something right. There’s also an entertaining sequence involving Cloris Leachman as a zombie cat lady and her zombie cats. Along the way, we get all the blood and guts a horror junkie could desire. A severed penis is additionally thrown in for good measure.
The best gags in Scouts Guide are visual. The dialog isn’t quite up to snuff, although the screenwriters do a solid job at capturing how crude teenage boys talk. There just aren’t as any great one-liners as one would hope. Imagine if the people behind Superbad got ahold of the script – then this probably could have been a horror/comedy classic.
Scouts Guide may not be a masterpiece. If anything, it starts to wear out its welcome a little by the third act. For what it is, though, there is just enough humor, violence, and passion to appease the target audience. Think of it as a hard-R version of The Monster Squad. Of course, Monster Squad was already only a couple more swear words and some nudity away from an R rating.