CAST: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont, David Koechner, Halston Sage, Cloris Leachman, Niki Koss, Hiram A. Murray, Lukas Gage, Drew Droege, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Blake Anderson, Elle Evans
RUNNING TIME: 93 mins
BASICALLY…: A trio of scouts (Sheridan, Miller and Morgan) must put their skills to the test when their town is overrun by zombies…
NOW FOR THE REVIEW…
Right off the bat, this movie’s bad. Like, REALLY bad. Not that we expected much in the ways of high art from a film called Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, but we expected SOMETHING worth our time.
We’ll gladly go into further details about why this movie sucks hard, but first we must answer an impending question: is it the worst film of the year? The answer, surprisingly, is no; we’ve seen much worse. Oh, don’t get us wrong, it’s a stinking dog turd of a movie that’s absolutely awful – but so was Pan and Unfinished Business, and if you had to make us choose between all three, we’d honestly go with this one, for two very distinct reasons: 1) it’s a much shorter experience of pain than Pan was, at 93 minutes compared to that film’s 111-min running time, and 2) it at least has more of an understanding of characters and structure than Unfinished Business (not good ones, per se, but they’re more defined than anything in that rubbish).
Even so, Scouts Guide… still earns a 3rd place trophy (for now) on our forthcoming Worst of 2015 list, and for many good reasons.
The film – which sees a trio of scouts (Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller and Joey Morgan) battling a sudden zombie epidemic in their hometown – indulges itself in the most juvenile of humour; the kind where bodily functions and certain parts of human anatomy reign supreme, and add little to nothing to the overall narrative other than a cheap gag to satisfy the undeveloped minds of most Tumblr-obsessed teenage boys. This is a movie where, amidst all the gory carnage left behind by the undead, characters will ogle lusciously at zombie breasts, physically rip penises off their bodies as they hang on for dear life, and mistake those without jaws as being experts in cunnilingus. It’s the mixture of Superbad, Project X and Zombieland that absolutely nobody asked for or ever wanted to see, and it’s every bit as unbearable as you can imagine, with the fact that two of those films are legitimately good making things even worse.
Not helping is the fact that the main trio, who we’re supposed to be rooting for, come across as every outsider geek from every movie ever made with no new additions added, and neither are particularly easy to warm to either. A bucket of an old man’s ejaculate (apologies for the graphic imagery, but then again it IS Halloween…) has more personality than any of these three combined, and is also much more charming. In the case of Logan Miller’s Carter, aka the Jonah Hill from Superbad of the group (and we mean that in a bad way), this little punk gets the fewest brownie points in displaying any kind of charisma, and instead gets to act as sardonic and as mean as possible to his apparent friends – though, admittedly, the same kind of archetype as used for the character of Costa in Project X is far, far more insufferable and awful than this little douche. As for Sheridan, the one of the main trio who actually has a pretty solid CV under his belt (he’s been in The Tree of Life, Mud, last year’s Joe, and he’s going to be in next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse), he’s stuck with a personality-free character who’s just there, and does almost nothing that requires much heroics.
The female characters get the worst treatment, however; aside from Sarah Dumont’s shotgun-wielding cocktail waitress Denise, who looks like she belongs more in fellow schlock-fest Zombie Strippers than this film, they are all presented as mere objects for the lustful young boys to fight for, including Carter’s sister Kendall (Paper Towns’ Halston Sage) who in almost every scene of hers is presented in the kind of slow-motion that Michael Bay would pleasure himself over. Oh, and poor Cloris Leachman; once considered one of the leading comedic actresses of her day, with several standout roles and even an Academy Award to her name, is reduced here to a snarling cat lady who performs an unmentionable act with her tongue on one of the boys. How the mighty have fallen, and further than anyone would have hoped.
As for the zombies themselves, they’re as generic as they come; if you’ve seen any zombie movie ever, then you will have seen the ones used here countless times before. Here, though, the filmmakers think it’s funny to have them placed in situations that normally they wouldn’t be in, like jumping on a trampoline or engaging in a Britney Spears sing-a-long (yes, that really happens; it’s as dumb as it sounds). However, none of it is funny and it’s endlessly boring because, again, we’ve seen these kinds of zombies everywhere recently whether it’s in film or on television so we’re at our peak with this zombie exposure.
It’s completely devoid of laughter, charm, logical sense or any form of rational intelligence; mark us, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is pretty damn awful – but, so far, not enough to “top” either Pan or Unfinished Business as the absolute worst of the year. However, there are just under two months to go till the end of 2015, so anything can happen… it’s doubtful, but still possible (come on, there’s no way that Sisters or Daddy’s Home can be worse than this…)
SO, TO SUM UP…
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse fails as both a horror-comedy and a zombie film, with neither elements functioning well whatsoever thanks to an overload of juvenile humour, unsympathetic characters played by actors who deserve far better than this, nor a lame execution of the zombie motif. It’s a travesty for all to look upon and weep, but though it comes nowhere close to topping Pan or Unfinished Business in our opinion, it’s pretty damn close…