Film review of the comedy horror about a small group of American scouts taking on zombies in their home town, aided by a kick-ass stripper.
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Director: Christopher Landon. Broken Road/Brucks/Oops Doughnuts/Paramount (15)
Cast & credits
Producers: Bryan Brucks, Andy Fickman, Todd Garner, Betsy Sullenger.
Writers: Carries Lee Wilson, Emi Mochizuki, Christopher Landon.
Camera: Brandon Trost.
Music: Matthew Margeson.
Sets: Nathan Amondson.
Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont, David Koechner, Halston Sage, Cloris Leachman, Nikki Koss, Hiram A. Murray, Drew Drogue, Patrick Schwarzenegger.
Three scouts, on the eve of their last camp-out, discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak.
It’s not often, and probably for good reason, that I get to ‘tag’ a review post with the words ‘Zombies’, ‘Scouts’ and ‘Strippers’.
But my little, put-upon-critics fingers duly slammed those characters out, half happy to see a new Zombie film (I’m a fan, you see) and half reluctant, as I’d earlier skimmed over a review in that estimable tabloid the Metro, which gave the film two stars out of view.
Even so, I duly schlepped over to the local multiplex with a heavy heart, anticipating an unfunny, too gory, overlong ‘zomromcom’.
I’m pleased to report, I’m happy to have never been more wrong when prejudging a film.
It might say more about my tastes and state of mind than anything else, but I laughed out loud quite a lot during this film, an outcome most modern film comedies often struggle to achieve with this reviewer.
Perhaps this film stirred memories of the teenage boy in me (albeit, one with less of an obsession with large breasts), perhaps I am still a teenage boy and one who clearly enjoys lavatorial, post-pubescant humour, which seeps through every frame of this film.
Straight after the opening title credits (which neatly use the Paramount logo by making it a Boy Scout badge) the chuckle riot starts with a male janitor (Blake Anderson) lip syncing and twerking to Iggy Azalea/Rita Ora’s ‘Black Widow’, setting the tone for the silliness that lopes afterwards.
Credit to the writing team and director Landon, for they hurl enough anatomical guffaws to fill this movie and a sequel. From a stripper whose head starts to detach during a pole dance, a well endowed police-woman’s breasts being quickly fondled to a geriatric walking dead man’s penis saving the day with phallic perfection (“Don’t let go of that cock!” – I freely admit, I fell apart at this moment) and a mass attack of undead pussy’s (calm down – the feline variety, folks!), there is enough stand out silliness and grossness to keep a smile on your face after your belly has stopped aching from the hilarity.
Maybe the zombie cunilingus is a lick too far. I agree, bad taste and on you will taste a mile away. Still, I laughed when it traipsed upon my senses.
There are three commendable young performances. Sheridan is a very capable and cute lead as the teenager becoming a man and Morgan supports ably as the plucky geek-scout obsessed with achieving every merit badge available.
But the best performance, severed-hands down, comes from Miller as the seriously hormonally challenged Carter. There aren’t many young actors who can utter such lines as “She’s gumming my ass!”, during a ‘biting’ from his elderly neighbour (Leachman) who has lost her false teeth, but he seems very at home throughout.
Dumont is also good, fun value as a sassy, gun-toting, but wise and mature waitress at the local strip club (the gloriously named ‘Lawrence of Alaybia’) merrily blowing heads off and helping Sheridan progress from being young and awkward with women to a man who can approach the love of his life (Sage). It’s a shame she isn’t more active and it’s incomprehensible that she suddenly goes her own way just before the big finale. Why was she written out of the majority of this sequence? Answers on a postcard to ‘Number 1 Misogyny Drive, Screenwriters Corner, C/O Hollywood’.
Arnie’s son Patrick appears in a very poorly written role as the Abercrombie and Fitch-esque High School jock. It’s throwaway and unfocused and he seems uncomfortable when not running his fingers through his beautiful head of hair. Like his father at this point in this movie career (about 4 years in) he is just as wooden in front of the camera, but there’s not much for him to go on.
It’s not often I say this, but hats off to production designer Amondson for providing the evocative sets, including a stunning, disco-globe and diamante pole strip club (even if it’s less gaudy and sleazy than one would expect).
View the official trailer on Youtube.