It’s not often a zombie movie can pay tribute to a ton of classic horror and still come out as one of the genuinely funny and novel horror comedies of the year. “Scout’s Guide” is a fan boy movie from the word go, with big winks like the opening that echo’s “Night of the Creeps,” to small touches like the sign indicating the direction to the town of Haddonfield. And come on, the hilarious trampoline scene is so “Zombies Ate My Neighbors,” I was admittedly giddy. “Scout’s Guide” has a damn good time as a tribute to horror comedy while also painting a pretty good one and done tale about nerds rising to the occasion to save some lives.
Furiously tongue in cheek and self aware, we meet Ben, Carter, and Augie, three boy scouts tasked with recruiting reluctant high schoolers. When their latest recruitment drive fails, pals Ben and Carter begin to face once and for all that their best days as boy scouts are gone and they’re prepared to move on. They’re afraid to tell their friend Augie, though, who is well on his way to his final badge. While on a camp out, the trio are woefully unaware that their town has been consumed by a rapid zombie apocalypse that has turned most of the citizens in to flesh eating monsters. Paired with a gorgeous and ballsy cocktail waitress, the trio seeks out Carter’s big sister Kendall, who is partying in an unknown location. From there, they try to escape their town before it’s too late.
“Scout’s Guide” suffers from a weak jumping point, admittedly, but completely rebounds by the time the narrative gets in to motion. Most of the foreshadowing is also telegraphed from a mile away, but the experience and witty script really help salvage the film in to a laugh out loud horror comedy. Christopher Landon’s direction is brisk and filled with the proper amount of tension and comic relief, making the adventure of the boy scouts tense and often very creepy. The comedy is balanced out with the rousing performances, including Logan Miller who steals the movie as the wise cracking Carter, who has the misfortune of always getting blood splashed in his face. Sarah Dumont also seems to be having a damn good time kicking ass and looking sexy doing it; she turns a potentially one note character in to a bonafide horror heroine worth rooting for.
“Scout’s Guide…” is short and sweet, and never tries for a premise that’s hipper than thou. It’s a simple zombie apocalypse horror comedy obviously influenced by “Superbad” presenting themes about growing up, moving on, and welcoming adulthood. Though the movie is mainly about the zombie action and teen slapstick, “Scout’s Guide…” also entertains with gross out humor, hilarious one-liners, and an action packed climax I was pulled in to. Through and through, Landon’s characters are likable and very charming, even when they’re being obnoxious, and we want to see these underdogs prevail. Landon’s film is also helped by strong supporting performances by David Koechner, and the lovely Halston Sage. “Scout’s Guide…” is one of the funnier and more raucous horror comedies of 2015, one that I intend to re-visit very soon.