“The Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” takes the Living Dead/Walking Dead/Brain-eating Dead as seriously as this worn-out genre deserves.
Which is to say, not very seriously at all. You poor stay-at-home shut-ins parsing every scene in that AMC soap opera about zombies can suck it.
This is “Superbad” with Scouts. And zombies. And superhot supermodel thin actresses.
They’re not BSA (Boy Scouts of America), BTW, but Associated Scouts of America (ASS). Better prepared, perhaps, for the zombie apocalypse.
It doesn’t have the laughs or the killer cast of “Superbad,” but there are gory giggles aplenty in this B-movie addition to the horror genre that displaced vampires once Edward impregnated Bella.
Ben, Carter and Augie (Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller and Joey Morgan) have held onto their uniforms and Scouting values into their driver’s license years. Bad move. That neckerchief, that shirt and sash covered with merit badges?
“Like a male version of a chastity belt.”
But Ben and Carter stuck with it, for Augie’s sake. He grew up without a dad, with only Troop Leader Rogers (David Koechner, of course) for guidance.
Ben and Carter will go through one last cookout/campout, one last ration of beans and weiners, “welfare food.” Then they’ll skip off to a party full of high school seniors, including Carter’s t00-hot sister Kendall (Halston Sage, that’s really her name).
But there’s been an accident at the biolab near their California town. The dead are reanimated, and recruiting new brain-eaters with every bite. The boys miss the worst of it, camping out and all. But very quickly, they’ll need all their knots and knives and MacGuyver-improvisation skills to survive the Scout Leader who has turned, the cat-hoarding lady ) Cloris Leachman who is undead, and all her carnivorous kitty cats to boot.
Fortunately, there’s also help from the former classmate turned stripper at “Lawrence of Alabia,” the hot club in town.
“It’s got good Yelp reviews!”
Denise (Sarah Dumont) is handy with a shotgun. And an erotic dream vision in Daisy Dukes.
As my fellow Eagle Scout, David Lynch, could tell you, the jokes should have been centered on various Scouting skills — fire making, whittling, knot-tying — which come in handy when you’re trying to survive the Living Dead. And the movie sets those up nicely, depicting the Scouts as outdated and uncool as they’re largely regarded in this Mormon-dominated, homophobic era in Scouting.
But the film meanders from set-piece to set-piece, with the (accurately) foul-mouthed teens often being rescued by others. It takes entirely too long getting to the finale that we’ve foreseen an hour before.
Only Koechner stands out in the cast, unfortunately. Sheridan is adequate, as are Miller and Morgan. But you’re left wondering how much more a Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse might have made of these characters. They’d have certainly goosed the jokes a bit.
Still, as zombie comedies go, falling short of “Zombieland” and “Warm Bodies” is no crime. The yuks and yucks add up to close, but no cigar. At least it’s still better than TIVOing that recycled undead half-hearted satire and its prequel that TV is serving up Sunday nights.
MPAA Rating: R for zombie violence and gore, sexual material, graphic nudity, and language throughout
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Sarah Dumont, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, David Koechner, Cloris Leachman
Credits: Directed by Christopher Landon , script by Emi Mochizuki, Carrie Lee Wilson, Christopher Landon and Lona Williams. A Paramount release.
Running time: 1:33