Review: "Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse" (2015)
When I found that the son of the great Michael Landon ("Little House on the Prairie") was the writer and director of this one it moved up my "to see" list pretty quickly. I have a reverent respect for Landon. He was a great man and incredibly talented. I assumed the apple didn't fall far from the tree, at least in terms of talent. I wasn't disappointed.
Christopher Landon, it turns out, is the director of "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" (an underrated little addition to the series with a Latino flavor) as well the writer of 2 other Paranormal flicks and the forgotten (and surprisingly decent) Disturbia. Not a bad list of credits to go with the pedigree.
"Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse" is pretty basic in it's premise: a trio of high-school age Scouts (Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller and Joey Morgan) are having their last camp-out when the zombie apocalypse breaks out and they are thrust into the role of heroes. Along the way they will discover what true friendship is. While it's not anything we haven't seen before in that regard, it executes very well and gives you characters you can give a shit about. It also throws in a couple of seriously funny scenarios and memorable lines along the way. There are great supporting roles/cameos by David Koechner (Champ Kind from "Anchorman" 1 & 2) as Scout Leader Rogers, Blake Anderson (Blake from "Workaholics") as the janitor from the fantastic opening scene, and the legendary Cloris Leachman (Frau Blucher from "Young Frankenstein") as grouchy next-door neighbor, Mrs. Fielder.
I'd liken it to "EuroTrip" in that regard. It's not "epic" in scale when it comes to the comedy, but you're left with an overall memorable horror/comedy/action movie that you would definitely watch again or show to a friend who hadn't seen it. When it's "on" it is really firing on all cylinders, but it is inconsistent.
The first third is the weakest part of the film, but that's always going to be okay with me. You have to set up the characters and give us a reason to give a shit about them.....that's just how Hollywood works. Once this one hits it's stride at about the half-hour mark it keeps you laughing through the rest. The gore action is first rate. The girls are hot (Sarah Dumont in the unbelievable but touching role of strip club waitress Denise is ridiculous but smoking), and the Scouts are dorky but ultimately lovable and solid. Very few jokes fell flat, and no less than 2 hit it right out of the fucking park. When you get to the "hanging out of the window over the trampoline" scene and the "big-tittied zombie cop" scene you'll know exactly what I mean. Fucking hilarious.
This isn't one I'll rush out and buy on Blu-Ray (which in this day and age of digital is the ultimate sign of respect for my old ass), but it is one you'll remember and revisit at some point. The Master of Cheese gives it no less than a 7/10. It's worth your time and consideration......and maybe a freshly packed bowl of high grade for ambience. Enjoy.