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'Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse' review: Standard horror-comedy

Director Christopher Landon, second from left, with Joey

Director Christopher Landon, second from left, with Joey Morgan, left, Tye Sheridan and Logan Miller on the set of "Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse." Credit: Jaimie Trueblood

No doubt about it: "Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse" has a great title. It sells the product, looks good on a poster and pretty much pre-writes the script.

All that's left is to shoot the thing. "Scouts Guide," however, feels like most of its creative energy went into the selling of the movie rather than the making. It's a standard horror-comedy, with the necessary nudity, vulgarity and sexual humor to pull in the older teen crowd, but it doesn't spend any extra effort to create memorable characters, invent new gags or put fresh twists on a well-worn genre. For this movie, zombie gore and the occasional naked woman are enough to get by.

Its heroes are three high schoolers whose Scout uniforms are starting to look a little tight. Ben (a likable Tye Sheridan) and Carter (Logan Miller in the rowdy-dude role) are ready to call it quits and go hang with the cool kids, but they can't bear to tell enthusiastic Augie (Joey Morgan). David Koechner plays Scout leader Rogers, whose obvious toupee and Dolly Parton jackknife make him a less-than-inspirational role model.

During what might be their last campout, the boys discover their town has been evacuated in the wake of a zombie outbreak from a nearby lab, Biotine. (Who runs it and why are more than the film cares to explain.) The only remaining human is Denise, a "waitress" from the local strip joint. Played by Sarah Dumont ("Don Jon"), Denise is the film's most convincing character, a hard-luck case who was once the most popular girl in school. "None of that stuff matters later," she tells the boys, "believe me."

Directed and co-written by Christopher Landon (son of late actor Michael Landon), "Scouts Guide" has its moments -- several come from Koechner in a running gag -- but it doesn't do much to distinguish itself from similar movies like "The Watch" and "The World's End." That may not be its goal, but it would have been nice to see the film try.


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