Straight from the example page of “How to write a Teen film” it’s the Sex-Comedy-Zombie-Horror film of the season, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.
Life-long friends Ben, Carter, and Augie (Tye Sheridan Logan Miller and Joey Morgan), are scouts, the lowest on the high school food chain, but with an invite to the coolest party of the year their luck might finally be about to change; that is before the undead begin to rise.
The plot, script, characters, jokes, cinematography, editing, acting, everything really, is basic. It doesn’t make the film particularly bad in any way, but it isn’t going to be anyone’s favourite film of the year – bar a few hormone driven teenagers. You know the characters instantly as you’ve seen a million variations of them in the past, so when they get put into these scenarios the audience not only knows the outcome, but who is going to say what to who, as though hearing half-forgotten jokes from a previous film. If I were asked to produce a poster quote it would be “Superbad Fan-Fiction: The Movie”.
The comedy mostly revolves around two things, blood and genitals, sometimes at the same time. If the blood isn’t present then they’re generally talking about where they are going to put their genitals. Occasionally there are flashes of self-awareness, a zombie intentionally breaking the conventions, or a joke playing on your expectations, but then these moments are always lost by the gag just around the corner. As for the action pieces they do manage to get some practical laughs, although they may be after you squirm in your seat a little. It’s cringe humour essentially, part for the imagined pain of the character, second for the fact that someone decided to write that.
The moments that induce this mostly are the unnecessary focus on zombie boobs. Why? This film is not suggesting some deep physiological thesis about necrophilia, it genuinely thinks it’s sexy, and it’s uncomfortable. It’s not even like they used the zombie aspect as an excuse to insert these scenes and get teenage butts in seats, there is specific make up made to make them look dead. Someone was paid to make their breasts look deceased and then shake them in front of a slow-mo cam, just let that sink in a moment.
When the action scenes do eventually attempt to progress the plot they are confusing and badly choreographed. In the final showdown everything but the protagonists blasting off their weapons is indistinguishable; you can barely tell the difference between the undead and their victims. It’s a motion blur fest of bad editing, blinding lens flares, and CGI blood splats.
At the end of the film I was left with a slightly bad taste in my mouth. Some critics have lamented on the film’s bad taste (true), gross out humour (true), and sexism (very true), and the effect it will have on the teen demographic that the film is aimed towards. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this is bad enough to make the world a worse place, it certainly won’t make the arseholes of the world stop and think on their actions; for those kids it’s more like an accepting smile.
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015), directed by Christopher Landon, is released in the UK on 6th November by Paramount Pictures. Certificate 15.
We finally get around to reviewing the teen-sex-horror-romp of the season