Friday, 29 January 2016

Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015)





























Well this came outta nowhere, in fact it hasn't even been that long since I discovered its existence. Love the films title, easily the main thing that lures you in, it intrigues and you want to know more. It totally has that cheesy, tacky, low rent, B-movie vibe in the title alone, on one hand that does help the movie because you instantly know what to expect, on the other it can also hinder the movie because its yet another low rent, B-movie zombie flick, and there's a shit-tonne of those around.

The story sees a small group of teenage boys who are on the cusp of actually growing up, yet they are also still in the Scouts. Two of the lads are thinking of quitting Scouts for obvious reasons I don't need to go into here, whilst the third chubby lad loves the Scouts and wants to carry on. So that's the basis for their little story arc struggles. At the same time in typically glorious 80's fashion, in some kind of local bio-chemical testing company or whatever, a cleaner accidentally lets loose (or wakes up) a zombie who in turn starts the aforementioned apocalypse. Before you can say, help my intestines are being ripped out and eaten by some rotting, ravenous, cannibalistic, decaying human zombie from hell! there are rotting, ravenous, cannibalistic, decaying human zombies everywhere...but not necessarily from hell.

Now I may have said this before in other top quality reviews, but I'm not a huge zombie fan, in fact I find these movies generally terrible and all the same. That being said I do like the odd classic such as Return of the Living Dead franchise, and I appreciate the effectiveness in films like '28 Days Later'. I will say right here right now, I have never liked the Romero zombie films, there I said it, OK well maybe 'Dawn of the Dead'. Anyway me being an 80's child and loving the comedy horror genre, this really did appeal to me despite the zombie factor. You can tell from the films poster that they have clearly gone down that 80's route, personally I think you can see clear homages to movies like 'Monster Squad', 'Fright Night', hell even 'The Goonies' to a degree. Its the perfect storm if you ask me, tried and tested, young teenage boys against monsters, add lots of cheeky, rude, infantile gags and voila! instant smutty horror porn.



The action all kicks off very quickly too, the opening intro sequence within this sterile, white walled testing company doesn't hold back. The cleaner is yet another young stoner type with ridiculous hair, in fact I thought he was one of the main protagonists. Anyway this sequence doesn't really do anything original but what it does is really effective and quite funny to boot. Of course its all stupid, this dumb cleaner starts poking around in the lab and fiddling with things...because of course you'd do that in a lab where its clearly obvious you shouldn't touch anything. He accidentally reanimates this zombie after thinking it was merely a sick person on life support, but the little gross-out sequence where he does this was a highlight. Nice visual gag utilising Tic-Tacs and a brilliant shock moment that seems to homage John Carpenter 1982 version of 'The Thing'. All the while a whitecoat lab technician is trying to get some crisps out of a vending machine, whilst the horror plays out behind him through an internal window.

Of course you should know how this film is gonna play out but if you didn't the intro will certainly et you straight. As I said there isn't anything particularly original here, but that's not a bad thing in this instance. The young lads are you're typical array of stereotypical young boys, one being smart, sensible and thoughtful, the leader. Another being more of a loose cannon, prone to getting into trouble, lax when it comes to things like having a conscience  and obsessed with porn (well they all are). Lastly the third being an overweight, ginger who is also smart but in more of a nerdy way, he's also very sensitive and wears his heart on his sleeve. I've never heard of these three guys that play the characters but I enjoyed their camaraderie and hijinks. They all worked pretty well together and were relatively amusing at times, amusing not hilariously funny. They also, naturally, have a sexy female on their side, again never heard of her but she's undoubtedly super hot and blonde. This did feel totally generic in the sense that of course you need a sexy chick in tight jean cut-off's going round blowing zombie heads off, its just a male requirement.

What we see throughout the movie is nothing you haven't seen before lets be honest, again originality isn't the top priority here. So expect lots and lots of blood and gore as the small team go around shooting zombies in the head, cutting heads off blah blah blah...you all know. The main hook for the movie is essentially the fact that the boys are all Scouts sooo...that's just different isn't it, they use their Scout skills to survive and kill zombies. Its a neat little concept for sure but really all you're seeing is three guys equipping themselves with various regular household/DIY/garden items and modifying them to kill, or not as the case may be. So you get a little 'Commando' tooling up montage homage which damn near every horror comedy tends to have at some point. I quite liked the brief moment where the camera zooms in on each Scout badge skill as they construct their weapons, nice usage of gimmicky idea there. Its also pretty dumb in places which is no surprise, the guys manage to get a hold of a flippin' Humvee at one point, probably the ultimate vehicle to have during this type of apocalypse, yet they don't really utilise it. Plus they could of driven off to safety at any point in the film really, to hell with all the teens at the rave pfft! Plenty of cliches throughout too of course, like the grumpy old lady that hassles the boys at the start, well they naturally get to behead her as a zombie later on because...little old lady revenge cliche.

I think the problem here is everyone knows exactly what to expect, everyone knows exactly what their gonna see, and while that's not all bad, its just old hat I'm afraid. The humour is there but its not really in your face good, it tickles you but that's it. Perfect example, whilst trying to escape from a window ledge high up, one of the boys grabs onto an elderly zombies cock to stop himself from falling. Said cock gets stretched out like a piece of elastic (exposing its fakeness) before splitting and breaking off. Now clearly this was supposed to be a funny sight gag...but it wasn't, it was kinda lame and fake looking. This is how the comedy tends to be in general really, little things, like the boys getting all super excited over seeing a pair of big zombie tits, or going through a girls underwear draw (really?) or simply seeing a strip joint etc...I get that its supposed to be juvenile humour, that's the aim, but maybe I'm too old for this now because it just seemed very lame to me.

I have moaned quite a bit about the obvious cliches and unoriginal content strewn throughout this movie, this is true. That being said I did still find myself enjoying this chaotic romp for what its worth. The film knows what it wants to be and nails that aspect of it, it doesn't ever pretend to be anything more that what it is, although it does get dangerously close to being too serious in places. I think it is very 80's which I love, I do like the Scout angle, the main protagonists are likeable and the girls are uber hot no doubt. The continuous joke of seeing zombified Scout master David Koechner stumbling about desperately trying to eat someone was reasonably funny, it sums up the whole comedy aspect really, close but ultimately just missing the mark. Now waiting for the inevitable Girl Guides version with tonnes of risque, underage type humour and sexual innuendos aplenty.

6.5/10