I have the world’s weirdest relationship with horror and its sub-genres. I’m not really a huge fan of horror, per se, but when I find a horror film that I like, I adore the stupid thing. I think I’ve mentioned my love of The Ring before. You can tack on to that The Grudge and it’s sequel the Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters. A fondness for the cheesy-but-Lovecraftian Phantasm series, and a few other films from the era.
But better than a serious horror film is a horror comedy. Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. Shaun of the Dead. Zombieland. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. They’re all fantastic films, and I was really excited to sit down and watch the newest entry into the sub-genre, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.
I made it through. Yay.
The trailer for Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse offered a lot of great laughs, but as so happens with funny trailers, most of the movie’s real laughs are actually in the trailer. There are a few other good spots, but really, the actual film is a mixture of mildly amusing moments and cringe inducing Moments That Are Not Actually Funny, and it goes for low hanging fruit that all to often doesn’t have anything to do with the actual plot. Case in point: the movie opens with some guy I sort of recognize as an unfunny comedian as a janitor, dancing to terrible hip hop and twerking. He’s ultimately responsible for the spread of the zombie virus (Well, him and the research facility’s terrible security.) From there you can kind of figure out the rest of the plot from the title. There are
Boy Scouts. (The film calls just calls them “scouts” the whole time, presumably to avoid a legal issue.) They’re kind of viewed as losers. There are zombie. Scouts must survive. Throw in some hot chicks. You get the idea.
I spent a lot of the movie trying to figure out why it wasn’t succeeding when Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland succeed so well. The first we can probably attribute to the talents of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright– when the three of them are involved in a project, it’s usually wonderful– but I don’t think that’s the secret. I think where Shaun and Zombieland succeed where Scouts Guide fails is that Shaun and Zombieland, while comedic, are genre films. They love their genre. Shaun (and the entire Blood and Ice Cream trilogy) plays with themes of growing up and learning to be an adult. Zombieland deals with grief and the same growing up. Scouts Guide… plays with themes of zombie genitals. Or not even themes. It just plays with genitals.
And that’s it. There’s no depth to Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. There’s no depth It’s just another raunchy comedy that doesn’t aspire to any sort of greater heights. Save yourself the cost of a rental and an hour and a half and watch the trailer and the zombie cat clip, both found in the links above.