Combustible Celluloid
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With: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont, David Koechner, Halston Sage, Cloris Leachman, Niki Koss, Hiram A. Murray, Lukas Gage, Drew Droege, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Blake Anderson, Elle Evans, Matty Cardarople
Written by: Emi Mochizuki, Carrie Evans, Christopher Landon, Lona Williams
Directed by: Christopher Landon
MPAA Rating: R for zombie violence and gore, sexual material, graphic nudity, and language throughout
Running Time: 93
Date: 10/30/2015

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Dead Badges of Courage

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Though it's based around some likable enough characters, and the mood is spirited, this movie isn't terribly inventive with its zombie attacks and gore, and offers very few surprises or fresh laughs.

Friends Ben (Tye Sheridan), Carter (Logan Miller), and Augie (Joey Morgan) are the only scouts in town, and though it's embarrassing, they stick together to support Augie. On the night Augie is to get the coveted Condor badge, Carter is invited to a senior party and wants Ben to go. They ditch Augie at the campsite, and head into town, only to discover that everyone is gone, and flesh-eating zombies are on the loose.

A shotgun-wielding strip bar hostess, Denise (Sarah Dumont) helps them out. Before long, they realize they have to evacuate, but not without finding the party and rescuing Carter's pretty sister Kendall (Halston Sage), whom Ben has a crush on. The scouts will have to resort on all their merit badge knowledge to survive.

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse borrows ideas from dozens of other movies ranging from Dead-Alive and Zombie Strippers to Zombieland, but it passes them off as fresh to a new generation that might not know any earlier zombie films. (It's directed by Christopher Landon, whose father Michael Landon once made an appealingly innocent horror flick, 1957's I Was a Teenage Werewolf).

Yet, upping the stakes to an "R" rating, the movie also goes for quick and easy shocks, using nudity, blood spatters, and foul language. It's a choice that tends to spoil the goodwill built by the main characters, all innocent goofballs. The "scout" angle is the only new idea here, but even that isn't used well. Everything leads up to the old "stockpiling artillery" montage already used in many other movies; their scout skills don't necessarily contribute anything. This movie should "be prepared" to be forgotten.

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