a critiQal film review Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015)

Plot: Three scouts and lifelong friends join forces with one badass cocktail waitress to become the world's most unlikely team of heroes. When their peaceful town is ravaged by a zombie invasion, they'll fight for the badge of a lifetime and put their scouting skills to the test to save mankind from the undead.

514 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 34s)

When Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse started appearing in trailers, I wasn’t sure what to expect. An R-rated teen zombie comedy? Um, doesn’t that mean most of the audience it is aiming at won’t be able to see it? Aside from this obvious flaw, I was hoping for another Shaun of the Dead (2004), where the mixing of zombie horror and comedy came off perfectly.

But, would Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse be this generation’s Shaun of the Dead (2004)? Or was I hoping for more than this film could ever manage?

The cast of characters is decent enough in Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. With the majority of the young cast being relative unknowns, with only the odd more recognizable cast member tossed in as an extra, this film seems to be off to a good start. With the relative unknowns, the viewer won’t have any preconceived notions, and the cast is free to impress (or not) as they see fit. And they do a decent job.

Toss in a few recognizable faces like David Koechner and Cloris Leachman as zombie fodder, and Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse gets to have a bit of fun with its recognizable names as well. While they aren’t exactly huge parts of the movie, seeing these famous faces act nutso is rather comical, especially seeing Cloris Leachman in her role as a zombie wanting younger meat.

With smart casting choices, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse seems off to a good start. Also welcome are its nods to Shaun of the Dead (2004), updated for a new generation (rather than Shaun and his buddy singing Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines” along with a zombie, this film has the scouts singing Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time” with a zombie). Even so, there is still the problem of the film being aimed at an audience too young to see it.

A lot of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse plays out as a teen male’s sci-fi fantasy. Filled with lots of gory violence and moments of graphic nudity (always played for laughs), this seems like a film aimed at 14-16 year old boys a lot of the time – yet that demographic is too young to watch an R-rated film in theaters. Unfortunately, the director seems to be stuck on that demographic, and while adults will laugh along with some of the humor, others hit way off the mark.

If they had quelled the violence a bit, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse could have managed a PG-13 rating, and its teen horror comedy vibe could have been a hit with the demographic it’s aiming for. As is, while there are still moments of hilarity for adults (starting right at the beginning of the film), most of it comes across as a cheesy B movie updated for the new generation. While that isn’t all bad, it’s also, sadly, not quite as good as it could have been.

But, even adults will get a kick out of some of the sequences, so Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is still worth a look.

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