Review: Scout’s Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse Is Not As Funny Or As Clever As It Thinks It Is
Title: Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Director: Christopher Landon
Screenwriter: Emi Mochizuki (screenplay), Carrie Lee Wilson (screenplay), Christopher Landon (screenplay), and Lona Williams (screenplay)
Principal Cast: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont, David Koechner, and Halston Sage
Summary: Three scouts, on the eve of their last camp-out, discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak.
There are times that I sit back and laugh at about how ubiquitous zombies have become in our culture. Once upon a time we found zombies scary in the classics like Night of the Living Dead. Then they became the default cannon fodder in first person shooter video games. Then the crazy flipped on itself and started getting very self aware. Games like House of the Dead: Overkill and movies like Zombieland took the “zombie survival” genre and made it into something that isn’t scary but funny. When I saw the poster for Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse I hoped it wasn’t going to be a rehash of the survival list from Zombieland.
Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse isn’t nearly as funny or as clever as it thinks it is with humor that seems to gear toward a much younger base than the R rating suggests.
When the studio rep asked me for a comment after this movie I told her that this “was the definition of a movie that teenagers sneak into”. Much like Superbad back in 2007 this one is going to be quoted in high schools as teenagers talk about how they snuck in. I have a hard time with movies like this because I feel like they are shooting themselves in the foot from straight out of the gate. The humor seems to be lasered focused on teenagers but the movie is rated R so the audience isn’t there. Granted there are some adults that have the same mental capacity or sense of humor as teenagers but that audience isn’t big enough to sustain a feature length movie. A short film perhaps or a “straight to netflix” venture sure but something in wide release? I don’t think there is enough traction to make back their budget.
There are a few jokes that land, which I won’t talk about since that would spoil the movie, but there were more misses than hits for me. They also tend to drag the one or two good jokes out to the point where it isn’t funny anymore. The movie was pretty self aware but not quite self aware enough. There are zombie kitties, zombie strippers, zombie old ladies, these are all things a young person would find funny. As for the adults in the theater we’ve seen zombie satire already in Zombieland and I feel like Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse really wants to hit that again. Zombieland came out in 2009 though and the “self aware zombie movie” isn’t a novelty anymore. There were a few scares hidden throughout the production but they were all jump scares which don’t count.
if there is one thing I really liked it was that Denise (Sarah Dumont) is a much more interesting character than the movie lets her be. I was happy when they let her be her own person and didn’t get turned into a love interest and she also seemed to be the only one who was aware how ridiculous this all was. Our three leads however, Augie (Joey Morgan), Carter (Logan Miller), and Ben (Tye Sheridan), aren’t compelling at all. They go for the same trope that always seem to go to teenage boys. I wonder how many men are annoyed that teenage boys are always portrayed as these brain dead (pun intended) idiots who are struck dumb by the sight of breasts. They are all caricatures so none of them ever really evolve beyond the “I need to stop trying to change myself to be popular” lesson that every movie with a teenger has ever.
Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse feels like a movie that could have done well in a smaller market or online but for a major release I don’t think it holds up. It’s more boring than not and the one highlight of the movie, the scene where the scouts use what they have learned to kill zombies, is brief and over too soon. I would wait until this one comes out on netflix, chug a bottle of cheap booze with some friends, and play a card game while it plays in the background.