Is it me or was the movie industry REALLY prepared for Halloween this year? Last Halloween’s big release was Horns and I suppose The Book of Life counts too, but this year it’s been Ghosts (Paranormal Activity, Crimson Peak) and Witches (The Last Witch Hunter) and finally Zombies, which is this week’s review.
Not long ago, zombies were huge. There was World War Z, The Walking Dead and even (god help us) Warm Bodies, not to mention all the video games too numerous to mention. Now I don’t hear about them as much so it was a bit nostalgic to see a good old fashioned Zombie Apocalypse. The Scouts Guild to the Zombie Apocalypse is a light hearted romp through the genre, it has all the trappings of a movie and it’s funny besides. I liked it – while it didn’t take itself too seriously as a horror film, it was absolutely conscious of itself as an action movie and a comedy and this is what made it work.
The acting was what really made this movie work. Logan Miller, Tye Sheridan and Joey Morgan had real chemistry as the leads. David Koechner as the Scout Leader was wonderful too – really suited for the role. And Cloris Leachman’s cameo was worth the price of admission for me.
Along with the acting this was a solidly written script. It was perfectly paced. The dialogue was genuine (well as genuine as a zombie horror/comedy can be) Each character had a reason for being the way they were and why they do what they do. Even if they became stock characters in certain scenes, it was because the plot demanded it and they could be something more in other parts. There is a real coming of age story here – what do you do when the person you were doesn’t fit the person you’re becoming? This story has something to say about that.
I’ve said before that horror can be an unforgiving genre and Zombie movies don’t make that much sense at the best of times. (eg. why does one bite turn you when you can get covered in zombie fluids and be just fine?) That’s why comedy and zombie horror seem like a perfect match. When you’re laughing you can’t really think too hard about the inconsistencies. And this movie was genuinely funny most of the time. Not all the jokes worked for me, some were pretty juvenile (and gross) but I can’t complain about that given the genre and that the audience was almost completely teenage boys.
Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is a fun film. It’s not really life-changing, you won’t have deep discussions about it. I don’t need to see it again. But it was worth watching if you’re in the mood for a funny zombie apocalypse movie. For those of you who might be interested, I’ve actually attached a rating system at the end to show roughly how I judge a movie.