SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (USA/15A/93mins)
Directed by Christopher Landon. Starring Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, David Koechner, Halston Sage, Cloris Leachman.
THE PLOT: We open on Otto The Janitor (or thereabouts), messing around in the school lab when he unleashes a, well, zombie apocalypse just as best friends Ben (Sheridan) and Carter (Miller) try their luck at the liquor store before heading out into the woods for the major scout promotion of their buddy Augie (Morgan). Both know they’re getting a little too old for scouts, but Ben doesn’t quite have the heart to have Augie be the only remaining member of Scout Leader Rogers’ (Koechner) troop. The pull of pretty young girls – and, in particular, Carter’s sister, Kendall (Sage) – is proving pretty darn strong though.
Not that such growing pains really matter when your sleepy town is suddenly overrun with zombies, something the trio only discover after Ben and Carter’s latenight search for a secret party downtown. Soon, they’re hooking up with stripper Denise (Morgan) as they fight for survival, determined to rescue the oblivious Kendall and co at the all-night rave before the American military wipe out the town…
THE VERDICT: Just out in time to miss Halloween, ‘The Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse’ is the perfect blend of Superbad meets ‘Shaun Of The Dead’, and it really deserves to be one of the breakout hits of the year. As it stands, it’ll probably get buried in the mix, and find itself a cult favourite in years to come.
So, do yourself a great, big, fat favour, and go see it on the big screen while you can.
It’s not difficult to see what drew the likes of David Koechner (a man with a nose for smart comedies) and Cloris Leachman (think Betty White with tattoos) would be drawn to Christopher Landon’s clever and very often hilarious script. Having cut his fangs writing a bunch of Paranormal Activity sequels (and directing 2014’s ‘The Marked Ones’), Landon hits that rich vein between horror and comedy here, and he hits it hard. There are scenes here that are Farrelly Brothers-worthy, and every bit as funny.
The casting is spot-on too, with Tye Sheridan (‘Mud’, ‘Joe’, ‘The Tree Of Life’) clearly bound for Hollywood glory. Playing Scott Summers/Cyclops in next year’s ‘X-Men Apocalpyse’ – should help seal the deal.
A perfectly-formed little comedy horror.
RATING: 5/5
Review by Paul Byrne

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Review by Paul Byrne
5.0Perfectly formed
  • filmbuff2011

    The title alone is enough to make you guffaw in doubt, so it’s no surprise to learn that Scout’s Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t try to be anything more than it is. What it is though is a lot of fun, if you’re in the mood for it of course. Three best friends and scouts Ben (Tye Sheridan), Carter (Logan Miller) and Augie (Joey Morgan) are due to have their last camp-out in the woods before going on to college. It’s going to be a long night for them though, as a sudden outbreak of flesh-munching zombies has hit their sleepy small town. Even their zombified scout leader (David Koechner) relentlessly pursues them, despite being burned by Augie. They team up with stripper, ahem, cocktail waitress Denise (Sarah Dumont) to battle the zombies and stay alive… Described by director Christopher Landon as The Goonies with zombies, or perhaps more accurately as The Lost Boys with zombies, Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse is a slightly misleading title. There’s no ‘guide’ here, like the one used in Zombieland. Instead, it’s a silly but often good-natured look at teenage male friendship at a time of bloody chaos. The plot, co-written by Landon with Emi Mochizuki, Carrie Lee Wilson and Lona Williams is pretty basic, essentially composed of set pieces involving our characters escaping close shaves with the zombie inhabitants of the town. It definitely feels familiar and doesn’t offer much that is new. There is one sequence that shows some original thinking though. To say anymore would be to spoil its many delights, but it’s enough to say that it features a trampoline. Even though it has a 15A, it’s a surprisingly gory film (IFCO state the gore is mitigated by its fantasy nature and comedy). Heads are sliced off by hedge trimmers, heads and bodies explode like in Scanners and there’s an occasional decapitation. The gore is played for laughs, rather than scares. This is a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and neither should the audience. While it’s far from essential viewing, there’s a sweet teenage innocence to its story that keeps its characters relatable and heroic, even as the body parts fly. Set your expectations to medium and you might just find yourself chuckling along the with the characters. Stay for a mid-credits gag as well. ***

  • Randy

    While the story is predictable, the film draws humour from rather unexpected places and is most enjoyable. The low point would be the over-sexualisation of women but this does serve the teenage boy mentality of the film’s protagonists. At the same time, one of the best kick-ass character is female.