I’d heard / read some decent things about the zombie-comedy, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse [sic], when it came out. (i won’t use the term zom-com no matter how much time I’m trying to save) I figured I’d check it out eventually, but I didn’t put it high on my priorities list. Sure, it looked fun and splattery (also not writing splatstick), but I’ve seen the same premise and approach before – hapless dorks and a badass face the undead. In short, my enthusiasm was running low on this one. So, it ran its run (?) at the theater and was released on video while staying just below my radar. I only remembered it when I noticed that it was on Amazon Prime. I put it in my queue, let it simmer for a while, and then finally watched with with minimal expectations. You’re probably wondering how it stacked up to those tiny expectations, right? Well, read on, reader!
Ben, Carter, and Augie are high school “scouts” (Boy Scouts of America definitely did not lend their name to this one). Ben and Carter are getting too old for this shit. Meaning, they believe that being scouts is uncool and will be a big damper on their social / love lives. Trouble is, their best friend Augie is SUPER into scouting. And his dad died, so they have to stick with it for him. (i guess?) The two “cool” scouts endeavor to ditch Augie after he goes to sleep during his big scout promotion (?) campout to go to a everybody-who’s-anybody-will-be-there party. When they get back to civilization, they find their small town in ruins because, guess what, zombies! Oblivious, the boys use the absence of a bouncer (or anyone else) outside of the local gentlemen’s club to their advantage, and waltz right into the place. They don’t think it’s weird that they’re the only ones in the place and take some front row seats for the show. Cue music. Cue lights. Cue backlit pole dancer gyrating and swinging seductively. But, guess what, she’s a zombie! Good thing the “cocktail waitress”, Denise, who works there (and who bought beer for them earlier) is there with a shotgun to save their asses. They escape, get into some scrapes, meet up with Augie, learn that cats can be zombies too, and they make it to the party just in time to save (very few) people before the government blows up the whole city with a cruise missile (or something).
Another snarky synopsis, I know. But, like I said in the intro, we’ve seen this before. The tropes are mostly tired. The characters are mostly juvenile (until they aren’t). The zombies are mostly sluggish and shuffling (until they’re fast). The logic is sometimes illogical. (why’d that stripper zombie go through her stripper routine before trying to attack?) And so on. But it’s not all bad. There are some fun sight gags and set pieces. Some funny (and, yes, juvenile) lines. And some sweet interactions (I mean ‘awww’ sweet, not Dude Where’s My Car sweet).Taken all together, it makes for a rather middling viewing experience. It feels as if the filmmakers had a decent premise and a few fun ideas and just strung those ideas together with minimal creative effort. (that sounds harsh, I know. but I’m referring to the derivative parts) The fun ideas are pretty damn fun though. There are even some good practical effects thrown in here and there (among the disappointing digital effects). And I enjoyed the cameos from Blake Anderson and David Koechner (YEAH!). I just wish that level of enjoyment could have been maintained for a larger portion of the film.
The Final Cut: Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is a mostly run-of-the-mill zombie comedy with a few clever gags, funny lines, and fun cameos that keep it from being a complete waste of time.