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New Release Review - SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

Three scouts must save their town from a zombie outbreak.


Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

Directed by: Christopher Landon

Starring: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont, David Koechner, Halston Sage, Cloris Leachman


"Cynicism runs through this production like a seaside town's name through a stick of rock. The filmmakers seem to have made their protagonists scouts purely for the sake of a catchy title."





The popularity of TV's The Walking Dead has seen an explosion in zombie movies, usually from low budget producers out to make a quick buck with a safe formula. The 'Vs Zombies' gimmick has become ubiquitous in the genre, with filmmakers cynically pitting all manner of social groups (strippers, cockneys, ninjas etc) against the undead. Now it's the turn of scouts, though this is no straight to VOD cheapie, rather a major studio release with a $15 million budget, which in zombie movie terms makes it practically the Avatar of its genre.
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (sic) presents us with a trio of overgrown scouts - Ben (Tye Sheridan), Carter (Logan Miller) and Augie (Joey Morgan), who become the last line of defence when their small town plays host to a zombie infestation. Hooking up with stripper (sorry, "cocktail waitress") Denise (Sarah Dumont), who proves handy with a shotgun, the lads attempt to save the few remaining uninfected townsfolk, a group of teens gathered at a secret party, the location of which our heroes haven't been made privy to.
Cynicism runs through this production like a seaside town's name through a stick of rock. The filmmakers seem to have made their protagonists scouts purely for the sake of a catchy title; rarely are they called upon to employ their specific scouting knowledge in service of zombie killing. Sheridan and Morgan portray a likeable pair of buddies struggling through a breakdown in their friendship, but Miller's Carter is so obnoxious that you can't help but wish for his demise at the hands of the undead, and it's difficult to believe the other two characters would be friends with this prat.
The script - penned by no less than four writers - won't be awarded a merit badge for originality, as every plot beat rolled out here is a rehash of well established horror comedy tropes, from the hot girl who turns out to be surprisingly adept at fighting the undead, to a blood-soaked finale which sees a garden tool employed as a weapon. Somehow, all four writers seem to have completely forgotten to address a major second act plot development concerning the impending fate of the town; it simply never gets mentioned again. Might I suggest they invest in a copy of the screenwriters' guide to zombie movies?
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