Directed By: Christopher Landon
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont, David Koechner, Halston Sage, Patrick Shwarzenegger
Synopsis: A zombie outbreak can only be stopped by a group of Boy Scouts and a cocktail waitress from a strip club. Yes, hilarity ensues.
Zombies are everywhere. They have been for a few years now. I blame The Walking Dead, but that really is irrelevant. The truth is that they have infiltrated the mainstream and are everywhere. This has led to a lot of really bad and mediocre zombie flicks. It’s also made it tougher to find the few good zombie movies that have come out. For some reason, Scouts Guide caught my eye when I saw the trailer.
Scouts Guide takes a recently popular approach to the genre by playing up the laughs and the gross out factor instead of social commentary and scares. It’s been a popular approach, with some of the more successful entries including Shaun of the Dead, Zombie Land and Dead Snow. Scouts Guide succeeds in its approach, although not quite well enough to be included in the aforementioned list.
The cast is adequate, but probably one of the weaker points of the film for me. Most of the actors are ultimately forgettable. When you look at the most successful horror-comedy hybrids, the characters make the difference. I could easily see most of the actors in a horror movie without the comedy, as they fall into stereotypical roles and don’t bring the needed charisma to make an impression. I felt Logan Miller (Carter) overplayed his role quote a bit and some of his scenes felt fake as a result.
Christopher Landon isn’t a household name, even in the horror genre, but he has been the screenwriter of several well-known horror movies, including Disturbia and Paranormal Activity 2, 3 and 4. His directorial debut was Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones and this was his follow-up. I can see him becoming a pretty popular director in the genre. He also happens to be the son of Michael Landon (Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven).
The FX are pretty solid as well. The zombies are reminiscent of the infected from The Crazies remake from a few years ago, mixed with some more classic zombie looks (such as the zombie missing his bottom jaw). Where Scouts Guide differentiates itself are with some of the gross out gags. You see gratuitous zombie tits, more than once even, you see an extended scene with an “old guy” zombie’s dick and you also see a zombie go down on a girl (ode to Re-Animator maybe). The jokes are pretty run of the mill, but there are a few laughs.
Overall, I had a pretty good time watching this, but it isn’t likely to land a spot in my collection (although it is much better than a lot of movies I own). To me, this is an excellent movie to catch on Netflix or Redbox, and maybe a good movie to buy if you are a big zombie (or comedy) fan. I recommend checking it out, but keep your expectations tempered. That way, you should enjoy it.