Review: ‘Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse’ Deserves Zero Badges

James Canellos ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant Movies Editor
Tye Sheridan, Joey Morgan, Logan Miller and Sarah Dumont in Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
Boy scouts have always been held to a high standard. If an organization has its own ‘scout’s honor’ to pinpoint their oath and morals you know they mean business. When a film called Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is being released those standards may be lowered based on the title alone. No matter how low your expectations are it is not low enough for one of the laziest comedies of the year. Scouts Guide could have desperately used the kind of character, worth and innovation that is expected of boy scouts. Instead of such dignity Scouts Guide relies on one too many gross-out jokes and predictable character tropes.
In a quiet American town, a trio of teenaged boy scouts has reached a crossroads in their friendship. Sensitive Ben (Tye Sheridan) and abrasive Carter (Logan Miller) have reached the end of their sophomore year of high school and as they move on to being upperclassman it’s time to let go of their boy scout troop. The only thing holding them back is their best friend Augie (Joey Morgan) who still has nothing but admiration and pride in his merit badges. As Augie prepares to earn the pivotal condor badge from Scout Leader Rogers (David Koechner) his buddies are opting to go to a super secret party that Carter’s sister Kendall (Halston Sage) is attending. As Ben and Carter sneak out of their camping ritual, they begin to notice that there once peaceful town has become infested with the walking dead. With their resources and the help of Denise, a cocktail waitress with a shotgun (Sarah Dumont) they must band together to save their town from this infestation using putting their merit badges to good use.
Sarah Dumont, Tye Sheridan and Logan Miller in Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
If only there was a required badge for good filmmaking that one needs to earn. Director and co-writer Christopher Landon needs a lot more training before he’s capable of forming one solid joke. With films like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland have left their marks on the zombie-spoofed films the bar was already tremendously high. Landon instead sacrifices the logistics of his zombies for cheap jokes that have been performed in the previously mentioned films. Testing the bonds of friendship is a popular issue among many films and Scouts Guide delivers on every level of predictability. When the comedic talents of seasoned pros like Koechner and Cloris Leachman aren’t given any material to work with, signs of trouble should be as clear as a hungry zombie.
In one scene Ben, Denise and Carter are trapped in a jail cell with a hoard of zombies surrounding them, Carter says that he’d rather be in that situation as opposed to going camping again. After viewing this film, having zombies trying to grab and gnaw at you doesn’t sound like such an ill fate. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse scraps the best aspects of much better apocalyptic films and recycles them through a comedic filter that a middle schooler may find amusing. To make such an assumption would be an insult to middle schoolers. This film may have resourceful scouts but it has left its honor around the dwindling campfire.
Overall Grade: D-
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