Directed by Christopher B. Landon.
2015. Rated R, 92 minutes.
I had a whole lot of fun watching Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and laughed most of the way through. As an added bonus, Mrs. Dell watched the whole, gory thing with me and also had a good time with it.
I could end the review right there. I'll be happy and you'll know all you really need to know about it. However, you're here. I suppose you want at least little bit more than that. You might even be hoping I can give you some keen insight to artistic value of a movie that includes a man upside down twerking on the wall to Iggy Azalea's "Black Widow," David Koechner playing a toupeed scout master with a Dolly Parton fetish, and Cloris Leachman as a toothless zombie gumming a teenage boy's bare backside. I'll do my best.
The actual story revolves around a trio of high school sophomores who are still in scouts. Two of them, Ben (Sheridan) and Carter (Miller) are tired of being scouts and are ready to move on. The only reason they haven't left is because they can't bear to break it to Augie (Morgan), the third of the crew and their best friend. He's gung ho about being a scout as is Scout Leader Rogers (Koechner), despite the fact they haven't had a new recruit in years. Rather than just telling them they're done with scouts Ben and Carter plan to sneak away from the camping trip they're going on that night with and make their way to a secret party thrown by their school's seniors. What none of them know is that due to the rather interesting events we get to see at the beginning in some unnamed lab, a zombie apocalypse has indeed started. Pretty soon, the town is overrun with the living dead. Our heroes manage to join forces with Denise (Dumont), who works at the strip club across from the convenience store where the guys were earlier trying to buy beer. As you might imagine, this not-quite-fearless foursome trying to survive ensues. And yeah, that Cloris Leachman thing really happens.
Needless to say, it follows the zombie template pretty closely, and does next to nothing new from a narrative standpoint. As they say, the devil is in the details. This is where Scouts Guide earns its keep. I mentioned some of them earlier. The way this film gets our heroes out of the predicaments it puts them in is ingenious. Often, music is heavily involved. The choices for that music is just perfect. Soulja Boy's "Crank That," Dolly Parton's "9 to 5," and "Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears are all used to hilarious effect. None of them I expected to hear as I clicked play, but they all work wonderfully.
While those are all nice moments, it's the absolutely wicked sense of humor between them that makes the movie work. Most of the gags land flush against our funny bone. To carry them out we get some rather twisted visuals. The two best include naked zombie body parts, naturally. One is a rather ample and jiggling bosom. The other tests the elasticity of a living dead penis. Is it all more than a bit juvenile? Damn right, it is. Is it one of the funniest movies of 2015? Why yes, it is. It has to be because it's narratively thin enough to where we don't necessarily care about the characters. On the other hand, we definitely want to see what happens next, even if it makes us cringe. Trust me, this is the good kind of cringe-worthy. By that, I mean we laugh heartily even as buckets of blood are spilled. That last sentence was inspired by Mrs. Dell. Actually, she's indirectly responsible for this whole paragraph. She's one of those people who rarely watches any horror, and most certainly never watches anything featuring lots of blood and guts. She's been known to just head to another room mid-film when things get too nasty for her, and never come back. This is the goriest movie she's watched in quite some time, yet even she often found herself cracking up. On two occasions while watching Scouts Guide she had to leave the room. This time she stressed it was only for a moment or two, and gave it the ultimate seal of approval. She frantically implored me to pause it.