Take two opposites, place them together and you’ll get an original, over-the-top result. Scouts – those young, energetic lads preparing for the adult world – and zombies – desperate to sup on living flesh – battle to the death in this fresh, hilarious take on the genre. And if scouts and zombies aren’t enough, throw in a badass stripper (sorry, courageous cocktail waitress) and you end up with a recipe for success. Scouts Guide contains the perfect mix of romance, comedy and horror.
Ben, played by rising star Tye Sheridan, is on the verge of leaving his scout troop, ready to take on the world as he prepares for senior year. His friend Carter (Logan Miller) has already fired the starter gun on leaving the scouts in pursuit of girls. To complicate their friendship, Ben is secretly in love with Carter’s sister. Their friendship is rocky but close and it faces test after test as they find themselves killing and maiming zombies to survive.
Meanwhile, the third part of this team – sweet-tempered Augie (Joey Morgan) – clings to the family and camaraderie provided by the scouts since the death of his father. He is the stereotypical boy scout: skilled, loyal and always prepared. Augie’s relationship with his Dolly Parton-loving Scout Leader Rogers is comically tested throughout the film. The characters bounce off each other with perfect timing, the pair striking the right chord every time.
Every moment is explored with amazing imagination. Pausing in the middle of any mass-zombie sequence will show a story in every one of the undead: where the zombie worked, or what their pre-zombie-infection-spread life was like. From costumes to zombie behaviours, the director gets it right with amazing attention to detail.
Scouts Guide is not all maggot-infested lollipops and silvery-midnight moons, though. The structure of the film feels squeaky clean. It’s almost too perfect if that’s any criticism. It’s all very linear and every moment is foreshadowed. The originality lies in the comedy and the scout/zombie/stripper cocktail.
The performances from the three leads are spot on. Characters are portrayed with skill, energy and heart. This film could easily have meandered, arms outstretched in the search for human brains, down the dark lane well trodden by zombie comedy (zomedy, if you will), but the characters yank it back with every original beat they pursue.
Scouts Guide is gore-soaked fun. From the skin of a dancer’s neck ripping on a stripper pole to scouts preparing for battle in true A-Team style, this film is highly recommended. But make sure you love the sight of blood...and Dolly Parton.