Monday, 9 October 2017

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Title: Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Director: Christopher B Landon
Released: 2015
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont, David Koechner, Halston Sage, Cloris Leachman, Niki Koss, Hiram A. Murray

Plot: Ben (Sheridan), Carter (Miller) and Augie (Morgan) are a trio of high school sophomores aswell as the sole members of their local scout troop. The trio however soon find their skills being put to a completely different kind of test as they are forced into battling the undead hordes alongside cocktail waitress Denise (Dumont)

Review: The Zombie genre might currently be one of the most overworked sub-genres of horror at present, largely down to the fact that its also one of the easiest for any aspiring director to put together on the cheap. The obvious downside to this of course being that the zombie market is now saturated with direct to DVD throwaway titles and “28 Days Later” clones and none with any of the charm of the Romero Dead saga which gave birth to the modern zombie movie in the first place. Combine this with the fact that zombies since “28 Days Later” now have to be a fast moving swarm than their original shuffling unrelenting horde clearly lost on modern audience and the problems only increase. This situation however does makes it only the more special when a decent zombie film does turn up.

A 2010 blacklist script, right from the start its clear what sort of film this is going to be as Blake Anderson’s dim-witted janitor manages to unleash a zombie virus from the local science lab. The shots of him being thrown around the lab by a recently awakened zombie in the background while the scientist argues with the vending machine perfectly setting the tone for what is to follow as we get treated to a delicious blend of slapstick and gross out gags.

Meeting our heroes for the first time, its clear that their troop have fallen on hard times as they are now the only members with Ben and Carter only sticking around to support their friend Augie who is working towards his condor patch while his friends are more focused on sneaking out to a secret seniors party they hear about from Carter’s sister. This party providing the final battle ground for the trio as they battle the hordes across the city. Still thanks to them being such a likeable group its a fun journey to follow them on, even if their characters aren't especially deep outside of a few surface characteristics. Adding to the group is cocktail waitress Denise who is no damsel in distress especially when she spends most of the time saving the boys as she joins them on their quest. Yes she might be there largely for the sex appeal factor but thankfully by having her be so capable of holding her own as a zombie slayer it at least makes her character arc a little less obvious.

One of the strengths of the film though is how quickly we dive into the zombie fun as with the film running at a rapid pace which only further works to its advantage as the shocks and laughs come fast and heavy especially during the escape from their neighbourhood were it seems each escape leads them into a worse situation as they are forced to battle an OAP zombie and her horde of zombie cats building to the final showdown with the hordes at the seniors party. This finale only being added to by the trio showing up with a small armoury of makeshift weapons to the strains of “Rock You Like A Hurricane” by the Scorpions.

A genuinely funny and splatter heavy comedy here director Christopher B. Landon manages to tap into that magical formula that Peter Jackson captured with his early splatter films like “Bad Taste” and “Braindead” (or “Dead Alive” as its known in the states) while running the film through the lens of 80’s cinema such as “The Monster Squad” or “The Goonies” and thankfully sidestepping the usual attempts to recreate this era by keeping the story firmly in the present. Needless to say this is the film the zombie fans have been craving.

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