The coming-of-age high school comedy gets mashed up with the zombie onslaught in Christopher B. Landon’s (Paranormal Activity, Disturbia) latest horror flick. Though, in Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse, the zombies are just the backdrop for an overarching story about three friends who must fight through their own impulses and mistakes to discover that … scouting is cool.
Ben (Tye Sheridan) and Carter (Logan Miller) ditch their friend Augie (Joey Morgan) on the greatest night of his scouting life, figuring that chasing girls is better than seeing him earn his Condor Patch. Scout Leader Rogers (David Koechner) has a night in the woods all set up for them, but the two decide that they’re better off at the “Secret Seniors Party” (which of course doesn’t actually exist). But when a zombie plague is accidentally unleashed on the world, the three friends must come together to fight for their lives and “the girl,” cocktail waitress Denise (Sarah Dumont).
Now, with background on how the film was made and the specifics on zombie creating in the special features, Scouts Guide is available to irreverently take scouting where it’s never gone before. More Zombieland or American Ultra than Shaun of the Dead, the film has its funny moments and zombie/high school fans will want to give this one a spin. Still, the straight ahead nature of the film makes it pretty predictable, with the exception of some gross-out gags to disturb you.
The story is more about Ben and Carter figuring out the error of their ways – that friendships should come before chasing sex, that popularity doesn’t breed happiness (a lesson Denise explains). The zombies and the humor are wraparound to the ‘moral of the story’ that’s not just expressed in narrative form but which is literally delivered to us orally like a sermon. Yes, it has its moments but amidst the gore and raunchiness, the film doesn’t trust us to get the moral and feels the need to remind us repeatedly what we’re supposed to be learning.