Zombie film flatlines with paper-thin characters

Two high school friends (Tye Sheridan, above centre; and Logan Miller, above right) and a strip-club waitress (Sarah Dumont, above left) find their way to safety in Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse.
Two high school friends (Tye Sheridan, above centre; and Logan Miller, above right) and a strip-club waitress (Sarah Dumont, above left) find their way to safety in Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse.PHOTO: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

The story: High school sophomores Ben (Tye Sheridan) and Carter (Logan Miller) feel that they have outgrown the scouts, but stay on with the troop for the sake of their friend, Augie (Joey Morgan). When a zombie outbreak occurs, the boys put their scouting skills to good use.

In an attempt to make his work stand out in a sea of zombie shows on TV and at the movies, director and co-writer Christopher B. Landon (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, 2014) mashes up the zombie genre with sex comedy.

But the result is a patchy film.

  • REVIEW / HORROR COMEDY

  • SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (M18)

    93 minutes/Opens tomorrow

    2.5/5 stars

The characters are paper-thin cut-outs with barely more personality than the zombies who have suddenly overrun the town.

Ben is the decent guy trying to do the right thing, Carter is desperately trying to lose his virginity and Augie is the loser fat kid.

At least there is a female character helping to save the day, but it is a case of taking one step forward, two steps back - actress Sarah Dumont is squeezed into a tight tank top and tiny denim shorts as strip-club waitress Denise.

The humour here spans the gamut from sophomoric to gross-out, including scenes of Ben grabbing onto a zombie's remarkably stretchy penis and a high school girl unwittingly making out with an undead suitor.

Buried beneath all this is a potentially moving story about childhood friendships that might not survive the teenage years.

Yet, Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse is no Stand By Me (1986).

Comedy fans might enjoy the turns from David Koechner from The Office (2005-2013) as a toupeed scoutmaster and Blake Anderson (Workaholics, 2011-present) as a luckless janitor.

For everyone else, the mash-up fails to breathe new life into the zombie genre.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2015, with the headline 'Zombie film flatlines with paper-thin characters'. Print Edition | Subscribe