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Review: Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Ros Hull

Three scouts, on their last camp-out, discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak. IMDb

Do you miss fun? I miss fun.

The more grown up we are, the less fun –big, loud fun- seems to occur in our lives. We judge fun – is it acceptable for a family? Is it good for me? Is it politically correct? Why can’t it just be fun?

So my suggestion for this week is to grab a full-of-sugar choc top, channel your inner 16-year-old boy and go see this film.

Be vocal: scream if you are surprised/shocked (or cover your eyes and squirm if you must), laugh out loud (warning: we had stomach aches we laughed so much), yell out ‘yuck’ when it’s gross and boo the mean kids.

It is a small film with a simple storyline but I predict it will be a much-replayed film. It may not be the peak of the art of filmmaking but it is a great example of truth in advertising: it’s about zombies and Scouts.

I love zombies – more predictable than ghosts, way less sexy than vampires (unless played by Nicholas Hoult) and not nearly as threatening as werewolves (sorry George*).

They are everywhere: zombies on TV (so, so many on TV), zombies in movies, zombified animals and even zombies in the streets (when is the next Zombie Walk?).

They provide hours of harmless fun: what is your plan for the zombipocalypse? How prepared are you? (Insert a beer and a barbeque.)

And so we come to the other part of the title: Scouts.

Rather than demean the Scouting Movement, this is an obtuse salute, a nod to all the skills Guides and Scouts learn that may seem dorky but are going to be the way to survive, come the day.

As a long, long term Girl Guide leader I have to say I loved the way our fellow organization was portrayed. The motto of both is ‘Be Prepared’ … and how will we survive a zombipocalypse? By being, you guessed it: prepared.

The thing to remember though is that these Scouts are boys in puberty – how would they behave? What is important to them? Will they be able to save their small slice of the world?

The answers are not always pretty or smart and (rightly) the gross factor is pretty high. But also hugely entertaining.

The director, Christopher Landon, has worked primarily as a writer (all the Paranormal Activities, Disturbia) but here leaves the writing largely to two unknowns – nice one Christopher, sharing the love.

Fresh voices also means that these zombies are a bit different – they have tiny vestiges of their human lives. Some even have a line or two of dialogue, or a Britney Spears fetish (still giggling when I think of that scene).

David Koechner (Anchor Man et al) is hilarious as the Scout leader, and very persistent zombie. He and Cloris Leachman (Raising Hope) are the only ‘name’ actors – and both are hilarious.

The three boys are all steadily working young actors and all do great jobs as their characters. Happily, the director gives them quiet moments amid the hilarity, solo chances to shine as well as creating a believable trio of heroes and friends.

Darn, I have begun to see redeeming qualities … maybe it is a tiny bit more than just big, dumb fun? Stay for a quick mid-credits giggle if it starts feeling too worthy.

*George R. Romero singlehandedly changed horror movies with his terrifying zombie classic ‘Night of the Living Dead’. Without him there would be no Zombipocalypse … but he probably hates how much fun we have with his creations!

Ros Hull

Ros saw Star Wars and immediately wanted to fly the Millenium Falcon. Unable to do that she became a Jill-of-all-trades as her army husband whirled her around the world – and back to Canberra 10 years ago. She has worked in public programs and museum education ever since. She gained an MA in writing whilst getting two daughters through high school - both are now at university and undeniably fabulous (according to her). She can worry as an Olympic sport so she sees lots of movies instead. More about the Author

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