By Nico Beland
Movie Review: C- (2 ½ stars)
The 2004 Simon Pegg and Nick Frost zombie comedy, Shaun of the Dead is a great movie, the 2009 Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg comedy, Zombieland, that is also a great movie, even 2013’s romantic zombie comedy, Warm Bodies is pretty funny. But 2015’s Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is about as funny as a teenage boy hanging above a crowd of zombies and a trampoline, from an old zombie’s penis, yes, THAT is one of the highlights of the film’s comedy.
Now Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse isn’t terrible by any means, but compared to the critically acclaimed Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, it ranks quite low when it comes to zombie comedies. Sometimes the film’s absurdity and over the top zombie kills can get a few laughs, but the actual humor decides to go towards the type of comedy you would see in an American Pie movie, just add zombies.
High school sophomores, Ben (Tye Sheridan-Mud, Joe), Carter (Logan Miller-I’m In The Band, Phineas and Ferb, Children’s Hospital), and Augie (Joey Morgan) are long-time scout group members, ever since they were kids. One night, it was supposed to be a perfect camping night with their Scout Leader Rogers (David Koechner-Austin Powers in The Spy Who Shagged Me, Anchorman, The Office), unfortunately he suddenly disappears and a zombie virus has been emerged from a science lab, and their hometown is now infested with flesh-eating zombies.
So our scouts are stranded with a broken down car, a sexy cocktail waitress/stripper, Denise (Sarah Dumont), and an all you can eat zombie buffet at a Secret Seniors Party where Carter’s sister is attending among other classmates, it’s up to the scouts and cocktail waitress to grow a pair, kill some re-animated corpses, and save their neighborhood before the Walking Dead takes over.
Overall, Scouts Guide for the Zombie Apocalypse is one of those movies where the marketing campaign was better than the actual movie, the trailers and TV spots were basically instructional videos for how to survive the zombie apocalypse, Zombieland did have a somewhat similar marketing campaign, except it was still great as a movie. Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland both brought something new to the zombie movie genre and they stood on their own well, sadly this film is about as generic of a zombie comedy movie as you can get.
This movie was lacking the comedic editing of Shaun of the Dead and the wild humor of Zombieland, both of which made those films big hits. Scouts Guide relies heavily on American Pie style teen comedy and somehow blend that with zombies, and it comes off as awkward and heavy on the gross-out humor of American Pie.
There are parts that did get a laugh out of me though, some of the zombie chases and jokes are so absurd that I couldn’t help but laugh at it. Plus, the climax is a ton of fun and some of the slow-motion shots of the zombies’ gory deaths are over-the-top and funny.
But compared to Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, I didn’t laugh nearly as many times as I did when watching those movies, even Warm Bodies which had more of a romantic comedy tone is more funny and clever than this. Those three films are my alternatives over this, FYI!
If you just want to enjoy a silly movie about zombies for Halloween, you might find something to enjoy in Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, but if you want a horror comedy to make you laugh yourself silly, just rent Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland instead, and not to mention better scary movies like Crimson Peak and Goosebumps are out in theaters now as well.