SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (OCTOBER 18TH)
YOU'VE GOT RED ON YOU TAKES PART IN THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE; WATCHING ONE HORROR MOVIE A DAY THROUGHOUT OCTOBER. SOME OF THEM OLD, SOME OF THEM NEW, SOME OF THEM HAVE JUST BEEN ON OUR SHELVES FOR YEARS GATHERING DUST, STILL IN CELLOPHANE...
I fancied a zombie movie this evening and let me tell you, there are a shit load out there. Since Zak Snyder's remake of Dawn of the Dead, they've competed with found-footage as the most popular sub-genre of horror out there. You'd think that The Walking Dead would have sated people's taste for apocalyptic shenanigans but it has done little to stem the tide. I think part of the modern fascination with zombie movies is really about the fear of 'the end of the world' and since the turn of the century, stuff like terrorism, global warming and North Korea have all helped to make things feel a bit unsettled. Also, the population levels are rising at a pretty scary rate and the apocalypse offers audiences a chance to dream of a new start in an empty world. Sure, it's filled with the undead of infected or whatever but still, life certainly wouldn't be boring now would it? Plus, if billions of other blokes are dead (or zombies) then my chances with Lauren Cohen are slightly improved at least...
Anyway, the film I opted for was the brilliantly named Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.
The premise is pretty simple really and the title pretty much tells you everything you need to know. Three high school kids and their scout leader (David Koechner) are trying to recruit new members to the organisation but to no avail. One of them, Augie, is about to get his condor patch (whatever the hell that is) and they all plan a camping trip in the local woods to celebrate. However, when the three of them turn up, their scout leader is nowhere to be seen. You see, like most of the town, he has been attacked by one of the growing number of zombies that are rampaging around town. It isn't long before the hapless trio are dragged into the action and they have to use all their know-how to survive the ensuing carnage.
Scouts Guide is a really easy watch and that's both a good thing and a bad thing. It essentially tries to be something that's akin to a cross between Dawn of the Dead and American Pie but unfortunately manages to be inferior to both those movies on both the horror and the comedy front. Director Christopher Langdon is best known for his work on the Paranormal Activity series, but one of his first hits was the underrated Disturbia. So he is no stranger to the whole 'teen comedy/thriller' thing. Disturbia may have contained a few laughs but it was pretty refined and serious on the whole – however there is nothing within Scouts Guide that could be defined as either. It's a gross out zombie-comedy that manages to raise a few laughs but not too much more than that.
Thing is, that all sounds like the whole thing is a bore-fest. But it isn't. It's very watchable. It ticks along at a nice pace, there are quite a few bits that'll make you smirk and some of the action/zombie kills are pretty inventive. However, at times the attempts to be gross-out funny are a bit much. Scouts Guide has been accused of being too leery and I think that's a warranted criticism. Yes, ok, I'll let them have the scene where one of the kids stops himself falling out of a first floor window by grabbing hold of a zombies exposed penis, and yes, I'll even accept the 'old lady zombie gumming one of the scouts buttocks' scene. However the scene where one of the scouts gives the breasts of a topless zombie a few squeezes seems a bit much. The female roles in this film are also pretty poorly written, with their sole purpose to just be something for the boys to look at – and feel up, occasionally. I mean, I don't want to be a prude but come on!
The central trio are all fine but there is a lot of screaming and yelling and 'Oh dude what the fuck' sequences that eventually get a little tiresome. However, Landon does keep the action at a pretty constant pace and if you are after 90 minutes of zombie killing then you won't be disappointed. The comedy in here may well appeal to people younger than myself (God I sound old) but when compared to something like Shaun of the Dead, the best zom-rom-com out there, it pales into insignificance. A mildly entertaining yet forgettable watch.