Director: Christopher Landon
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont and David Koechner
Release Date: Nov 6
In the all important third act of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, three scouts stand on a platform, looking down on a night-club full of the undead. They wield three ridiculously lethal home-made weapons. Practically winking at the camera, they utter a battle-cry: “Alright Scouts, let’s kick some zombie ass!”
Everything in the film builds towards this moment and it culminates in neither a bang nor a fizzle. Instead, it settles for a self-satisfied groan.
With the high-concept plot blatantly stated in the title, there is no doubt that this is a film that will do well. It’s got sex and zombies, two of the four most popular things in cinema, alongside superheroes and Jennifer Lawrence.
There isn’t much of a plot, and the humour is as crude as it gets. One scout blatantly gropes an undead police woman’s tits as she gets caught in a fence, which should tell you exactly what we’re dealing with here.
But despite how dumb the film is, it has a nice flow to it. There are some very solid set-pieces (garnished with smut, naturally) and a wealth of gross out horror/humour to keep teens and man-children happy. It’s not going to win Film of the Year, but it’s not the worst thing to be produced either.
Holding the film together are the three leads, Ben (Sheridan) Carter (Miller) and Augie (Morgan). In all but appearance, these are the three musketeers from Superbad: Ben is Michael Cera, morally righteous but introverted. Carter is Johah Hill, loud, obnoxious and pussy-obsessed. And Augie is McLovin, the socially inept comic relief.
They don’t have the same chemistry as those characters, and they’re poorly developed. Plot-threads, like Augie’s in absentia Dad, are left hanging with no resolution.
But the scouts are likable enough that they can just about carry a film about running away from zombies, screaming like little girls.
The best parts of SGTTZA are the humorous twists they take on the zombie formula. It’s no Shaun of the Dead, but there is a lot to be said for a zombie attack involving a crazy old cat lady with false teeth. Female pop singers also feature with great comic effect and there is a scene involving a trampoline that is part hilarious, part unbridled horror…for guys, at least. Expect to squirm while clutching protectively at your nether-regions.
Of course, as a teen sex comedy, there are issues with female representation. What a shock. This is part of the package with the genre, but the fact that the love interest and the love interests’ underwear drawer are given almost equal screen time really should be causing some alarm bells to ring.
The character of Denise the Stripper (“I’m a cocktail waitress,” she argues, weakly) gains a sliver of redemption by being the scouts’ level-headed saviour, disinterested in relationships and a mean trigger finger. This falls apart during an awkward scene in a bedroom and the promise that she will “meet someone who deserves her, one day.”
Oh, and did we mention she was a stripper?
The comedy treads water throughout, and is as crude as the jokes section of Playboy magazine. There are condoms, tits, farts and dick jokes. Throw in zombies and you have an instant crowd pleaser. And we say that genuinely without irony.
Despite distancing itself from any sort of artistic integrity, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse does a solid job of appealing to the lowest common denominator and is as giggle-worthy as a well-timed belch at church.
Written by Stephen Hill