Always Bring Protection.
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse follows three young friends, Ben, Carter, and Augie who have been in the scouts since they were kids. On the eve of their potentially last camp out the guys are challenged by a zombie outbreak that has ravaged the town. With their friendship tested they must try to escape the town and save their families, and eventually put their scout skills to bloody use.
The film starts with the guys struggling to bring new recruits into the scouts, despite the steadfast enthusiasm of Scout Leader Rogers (David Koechner). It’s a frustrating time for Ben and Carter as their enthusiasm for scouts is waning and they’ve been looking to drop out for a while. The only thing keeping them in, is their friend Augie. Leaving the scouts would break Augie’s heart, it’s where they all became close friends and they just don’t know how to break the news to him. As they prepare for a camp-out where Augie will earn the heralded Condor badge, Carter and Ben are invited to a big secret party. The two try to sneak out during the night but are swiftly caught. As their friendship breaks down they go their separate ways back into town. Unbeknownst to them the town has went to hell and a zombie outbreak is wreaking havoc, and now they must find a way to escape using the skills they picked up from scouts.
Simply put, this is a future cult film for a new generation. The zombie sub-genre is one that is so incredibly saturated that it can be hard to find a decent new film as we have to wade through tons of sewage to find anything with some value. Thankfully, after a fair bit of digging, we have one with Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. It’s a film that will appeal to the new generations of horror fans who were born into this nutty zombie infested pop culture, and it should also resonate with the well travelled horror fans who grew up on a diet of Evil Dead and Re-Animator. It’s not going to be a mainstream success, and it’s not going to appeal to everybody but Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is a blast of fun from start to finish.
It’s clear from the opening scene of the film that aims to be a bucket of bloody fun. As a foolish janitor messes around with some laboratory equipment and comes across a strange looking comatose patient, he accidentally causes the them to flatline and awkwardly tries provide CPR. His efforts are clearly in vain as he pushes his hands through the patients chest and wakes up the living dead, thus causing the zombie outbreak.
The comedy in the film ranges from hilarious mutilation of corpses, wacky animal zombies to plain stupidity, but it is none the less entertaining every step of the way. Highlights include a scene involving a trampoline, which had my body cringing in disgust and almost laughing hysterically at the same time, and a surreal rendition of a classic Britney Spears song. The climax owes a lot to the gaming franchise Dead Rising as the boys use the scout skills to craft hand-built weapons from a hardware store for maximum zombie killing impact.
Despite the zombies being a primary part of the proceedings, it would have been a shell of a film had it not had the central friendship between the characters of Ben, Carter, and Augie. We can all relate to a group of friends on an adventure, and their dynamic has shades of 80s classics like The Goonies and Stand By Me. It isn’t drawing on anything new but it doesn’t pretend to either as it feels like a hokey sentimental tribute to cult favourites such as The Monster Squad. The 80s are very much beating in the lively heart of this horror.
I’m a horror fan through and through, and the genre needs feel good films like this, equal parts gore and laughs with a splat of gratuitous nudity for good measure. At the end of the day isn’t that what fun horrors are all about?