The Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse shows up about five years late to its cultural crazing-out moment (all that late-’00s zombie-mania). But beyond its tardy, fitful contribution to the undead evolution, this teen flick’s apparently never heard of the actual women’s revolution. So we’re treated to some B-horror fun here and there, increasingly buzzkilled by horny-moan, male-it-in humour.
The Dawn of the Dead-meets-Stand By Me scenario sees a zombie epidemic break out from a lab, thanks to one overly curious, floor-mopping doofus (in the movie’s most patient and funniest sequence), then confronted by the town of Deer Field’s scouting buddies: average-Joe-hero Ben (Tye Sheridan), sex-obsessed dickhead Carter (Logan Miller) and well-meaning schlub Augie (Joey Morgan). The tone of most gore-scenes is judged just right, from the trio’s scout leader stubbornly trying to bite his troop back to Cloris Leachman’s cameo as a crotchety old neighbour; the MacGyvering scouts’ final, home-hardware-armed showdown’s fun enough. But our teen triumvirate hooks up with twentysomething Denise (Sarah Dumont), a cocktail waitress at a strip-club (“Lawrence of Alabia”), just so TSGZA can upsize its hottie-ness factor by repeatedly eyeing a skinny blonde in short shorts and a white tank top.
It’s this mix of blood and lust that spatteringly sputters. The script follows Carter’s lead, indulging not just in juvenile jokes (the hanging-on-to-a-zombie’s-dick that’s stretched beyond any playground-level amusement whatsoever) but in a primeval, T&A-obsessed, slagging-off of the hot-to-trot sex. The one time a girl’s sexually assertive, she gets fatally cunnilingus-ed for it; Denise helpfully, suddenly shows Ben how to kiss; Ben’s love-interest, Kendall—Halston Sage, reduced to eye-candy again, as in Neighbors and Goosebumps—is simply ogled all the way through. This is a movie whose last line is: “I should fuck his mom, then!” Sure, Hollywood still likes to pander to the teen-boy market, but this is the equivalent of vicarious panting-for-panties (which actually happens here in one scene). Simply switching genders for a sequel—Girl Guides 2 The Zombie Apocalypse—could make this horror-comedy you’d want to sink your teeth, not some other body part, into.