“Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” is a film that I would’ve loved when I was 12, but hated when I was 13. That sounds strange, but it’s insanely apt. Whether it’s something to do with scouting or the awful teenage boy discovery of the forbidden carnal knowledge, this movie hits that right note of awful. That note of awful that keeps things like Rotten.com and Faces of Death in business for years. I’m talking that kind of awful that keeps dudes in Ed Hardy shirts and listening to Dane Cook albums. This is the celluloid equivalent of Dirt magazine.
For those too young to remember, “Dirt” was a magazine started by Spike Jonez and partners around 1992/1993. It was meant to be the young dude equivalent of “Sassy” and they failed miserably at trying to mimic that market. I became familiar with Dirt when in 1993 they bundled issues in with certain Marvel comics. Whether it was an issue of Amazing Spider-Man or Fantastic Four in the DeFalco era, you could land a new magazine and an edgy cassette sampler. The 12 year old kids digging the Marvel books, could listen to Jesus Jones and later read about heavy teen issues. It was a clashing of two sensibilities that never quite gelled together into a cohesive whole.
I thought a lot about “Dirt”, as I watched a zombie Cloris Leachman lose her false teeth and try to toss a guy’s salad. Is it still called tossing salad or is eating the booty like groceries? I try to keep up with the kid slang, but I’ll be direct here. An Oscar and Emmy winning actress will be seen attempting to eat a man’s anus until he turns into a member of the undead. That’s a quick chuckle, but it’s nothing more than a YouTube clip passed off as part of a larger narrative. The same goes for Blake Anderson dancing to Black Widow, the forced female frontal nudity or the gag about David Koechner’s hair piece.
In the attempt to have a modern comedic sensibility and echo the R-rated teen comedies of old, “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” has made a film that appeal to neither party. The trio of scouts either doesn’t have a point or border on the point of being so obnoxious that I want them to face a Captain Rhodes style fate. There are zero likeable characters in the film, but I’m not sure if there should be a reason to like these teens. Teenagers are obnoxious for a reason, it’s just that the reason should be new experience. These teens are seemingly worldly and force themselves into situations to use and abuse the zombie apocalypse.
Supposedly, the film was given a limited release due to Paramount’s indecision regarding whether it should get a theatrical release or go On Demand. If the film doesn’t slay at the box office this weekend, then the rural viewers should be getting this sooner than later. If this misfire finds an audience, then the rural folk will probably have to wait for home video. Honestly, I’ve seen two other films this Halloween season that went On Demand for the vast majority of the readership. Sometimes, life isn’t fair and movies like this win the coin toss.
RELEASE DATE: 10/30/2015