The good news – such as it is – is that Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse isn’t as bad as you might be expecting. It’s not, by any reasonable standards, a particularly good movie but being quite clearly aimed at a very specific post-American Pie demographic which still thinks farts, poop and boobies are (snigger) really funny it’s a miracle that it manages to provide even the odd smile much less the handful of reluctant belly-laughs it actually engenders. It’s tacky, occasionally gross, monstrously unsubtle but undeniably competently-crafted and with an energy which carries you along in its wake even as you’re battling with your conscience at having gone to see the damned thing in the first place.
If you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen some of the best/worst gags Scouts Guide has to offer. Ben, Carter and Augie are the last three scouts in a troop run by obsessive Scout Leader Rogers (David Koechner, underused). Ben and Carter are outgrowing the scouts and during a woodland overnight camping trip the two slip away with the intention of sneaking off to a party full of booze and Hot Chicks. But they get back to town to find it eerily deserted... apart from hordes of drooling, slavering zombies. The reunited trio team up with a feisty stripper from a local club to fend off the advancing monsters and rescue Carter’s sister Sage, hopefully out of harm’s way at the mercifully out-of-town party.
Shaun of the Dead this ain’t. Nor is it even Zombieland. The humour here is resolutely toilet-level, concentrating (inevitably) on adolescent male obsessions with bodily functions, fluids and odours but fortunately, when the undead start to appear, the focus changes to gross-out gore and splatter and the occasional neat visual gag (and one which is in eye-wateringly bad taste) as the three kids are reconciled (ah, the power of friendship!) and step up to the plate to kick zombie ass and save their loved ones. And kick zombie ass they most certainly do. To the film’s credit, the action scenes are frenetic – one zombie attack/massacre is high-adrenalin stuff – and there’s plenty of exploding heads, dismemberment and disembowelling but it’s all presented in a determinedly no-nonsense comic strip style and despite the explicitness and relentlessness of violence it’s never remotely scary because that’s just not the intention here, at least not while there’s time to throw in another boob gag or engage one particular zombie in a Britney Spears sing-off.
Not really aimed at STARBURST readers (or reviewers) of a more mature disposition, Scouts Guide isn’t good enough to qualify as a guilty pleasure but it gets an extra mark or two just for its zombie cats... that’s something you don’t see in The Walking Dead.
SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: CHRISTOPHER B. LANDON / SCREENPLAY: CARRIE EVANS, EMI MOCHIZUKI, CHRISTOPHER B LANDON / STARRING: TYE SHERIDAN, LOGAN MILLER, JOEY MORGAN, SARAH DUMONT, DAVID KOECHNER, CLORIS LEACHMAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10