It is hard to accuse Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse of not doing exactly what it says on the tin. When a zombie virus hits a small town, three scouts band together with a cocktail waitress to fight the undead and their social outcast status. It is not destined to be a classic of the “zom-com” genre. While it feels entirely disposable, it is enjoyably stupid. Few of the jokes actually raised more than a giggle but the film makes up for it by relishing in its slapstick gore, occasionally in ways which even feel fairly original.
The disposability of the film extends to the characters – father figures and life-long neighbours have to be killed when they start to munch on brains, but this leaves our central boys emotionally unaffected and the audience as well. It’s hard even to care about the main characters. While it never feels like they are in real danger, they are such generic characters that even if they were all ripped limb from limb; it would be unlikely that anyone in the audience would pause between handfuls of popcorn.
There is the fat weird one, the sex-obsessed sidekick and the pure-of-heart leader. The latter is played by Tye Sheridan, who was excellent in Mud alongside Matthew McConaughey. Here though his character is just a bit boring.
It is the female characters of the film though, who suffer most. The central female character is Denise, a kick-ass waitress from a strip-club. While she misses out on the major action sequence, the film still seems to think one women with a gun gives it a license to do whatever it wants with the rest of its female cast. Most of this is not out of the ordinary for this sort of laddish comedy- massive naked zombie breasts bouncing in slow-motion before the audience is but one example. There is however, one very disturbing and ill-judged scene, played for laughs; of a zombie raping a woman. It leaves a distinctly unpleasant feeling after what could otherwise have been a vaguely enjoyable, although completely forgettable, zombie flick.
Image: Gage Skidmore; Flickr.com