written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Halloweekend yields all manner of entertainment that goes “bump” in the night, with how popular the shambling not-alive (see what I did there) has been in recent years, all manner of movie has come out pitting unsuspecting folk against flesh eating hoards. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is no exception, I decided to catch this flick with my cousin on Halloween-eve… part in par for the corse, I wanted something I could just turn my brain off and enjoy. I feel like flicks like this are better enjoyed when you just try not to take everything so damn seriously for a couple hours and just watch.
Following the misadventures ofthree boyscouts and a strip club cocktail waitress, a mysterious virus infects their small town and people begin eating each other… and not in the sexy way mind you.
It’s a coming of age flick with some surprising themes driving it; to be true to yourself, to “take the bull by the horns” and tell the girl you’ve been in love with how you feel, and of course the value of lifelong friendship. Ben (Tye Sheridan), Carter (Logan Miller), and Augie (Joey Morgan) have been in scouts since they were kids; not content to be labeled losers anymore, Ben and Carter contemplate how to tell Augie (who is very serious about being a scout) that they want to quit. On the night of an important campout for Augie, Ben and Carter get invited to the secret Seniors party Carter’s sister Kendall (Halston Sage) will be attending… oh and I feel I need to point out that Ben is madly in love with Kendall.
When the outbreak happens, the scouting trio along with strip club cocktail waitress Denise (Sarah Dumont) are forced to survive waves of the undead while working to save Kendall and everyone else at the party from their impending doom.
The movie afford some decent but largely predictable jumpscares, and the comedy was crude but never felt too forced. It isn’t as serious as say The Walking Dead or as poignant of a Zom-Com as Zombieland, but it does get the job done. It’s like Yellow Tail wine, is it the best you can get? Honestly not… but does it get the job done? Absolutely. The story is far from the boxed-wine like narrative of other zombie comedy flicks, and its self-aware enough to not take itself too seriously.
The biggest sore spot for me was including non humans as zombies, being attacked by a deer zombie or a hoard of crazy ass cat zombies feel like it falls into “bad parody” territory. I’d expect story tropes like that from the Scary Movie ilk, but these moments felt like they were there simply for cheap laughs and another reason to remind me why I’m a dog person.
The visual effects were surprisingly well done, a good mix between CGI and traditional effects is a breath of fresh air in a Hollywood so obsessed with how big the boom can be. The climactic battle when the scouting trio go full-on Dead Rising (yes like the video game) and create makeshift weapons from supplies at a hardware store sit as the highlight of the entire ride.
Despite all the praise I’ve given it so far, Scouts isn’t a good movie. The scares are cheap, the writing felt wooden, and the whole sequence with animal zombies turned me off completely. But just because it isn’t good, doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun. Like I said in the beginning of my review, this is a “turn your brain off” kind of flick. If you are expecting something like Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead, you will be disappointed; but if you can get past that and honestly take it at face value, you might have a good time with it.