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Film / Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

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"The police? They're gone. The military? They're not coming, either. Guys, we're the last line of defense."
Ben Goudy to his fellow Boy Scouts

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is a horror-comedy film released in October 2015 by Paramount, and directed by Christopher Landon.

Ben Goody (Tye Sheridan), Carter Grant (Logan Miller), and Augie Foster (Joey Morgan) have been best friends and scouts since childhood, at the expense of being mocked by most of the other high school kids. Although Ben and Carter want to give up the scouts' life, even if Augie isn't ready, they're forced to use all their training and skills to survive when their town is overrun by zombies on the night of a crazy party. The three scouts, with some help from a tough-as-nails waitress named Denise (Sarah Dumont), set out to reclaim their town from the zombies and save Carter's sister and Ben's secret crush, Kendall (Halston Sage), at the same time.

The film was originally slated for a 2014 release but was delayed until Halloween the following year.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Denise, who spends the first half of the film wielding a pump-action shotgun, which she uses to expertly blow away several zombies via headshots.
  • Ammunition Backpack: Augie carries two gas canisters on his back to power his pretty potent potato cannon for the big showdown.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Close-ups of the trio's merit badges are intercut with the Lock-and-Load Montage at the hardware store, including ones for firearms, archery, and ... cooking. The latter, because one of Ben's selected items is an electric carving knife.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Jeff.
    • We don't see much of Chloe before she is turned but she comes across as very self-centered and generally unpleasant.
  • Attractive Zombie: The zombie stripper and the large-breasted police officer.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The trio's big battle against the zombie horde at the party is kicked off with the freaking Scorpions.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • The scouts pull this off at the party where they lay waste to every zombie in their path, and rescue most of the teenagers (including Kendall) in the process.
    • Late in the climax, Ben's weed-whacker runs out of power, forcing him to grapple a zombie. Thankfully, Carter and Augie bail him out when the former pins the zombie to the wall with a nail through the hand and Augie finishes him off with a headshot.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Ben gives one to Kendall at the end.
  • Bloody Hilarious: It's a zombie horror-comedy film. It pretty much runs on this.
  • Boom, Headshot!: A lot of zombie kills happen this way. Augie even says "Boom!" after blowing off zombie heads.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Augie's potato cannon has a transparent top-mounted magazine with about six or seven very visible projectiles in it, but no matter how much he's laying on the trigger, said magazine is always full.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Scout Leader Rogers does this during The Stinger, as he turns to the audience and says, "The end!"
  • Brick Joke: The home of Mrs. Fielder the Crazy Cat Lady is infested by her zombified cats. In the end-credits montage of phone pics, Mrs. Fielder's pic is called up not by a zombie finger, like the others, but by an obviously zombified cat paw.
  • Broomstick Quarterstaff: When Ben, Carter, and Denise are stuck in a cell (because they locked themselves in to escape the zombies), Ben picks up a nearby mop and kills a zombie by ramming the handle through the zombie's head.
  • Butt-Monkey: Scout Leader Rogers is abused all the way to the credits.
  • The Can Kicked Him: Narrowly averted with Ben, who is trapped on a toilet by a zombie and is saved by a shotgun-wielding Denise. Unwittingly averted by Augie, who finishes using Scout Leader Rogers's toilet just before a zombie can reach through the open bathroom window behind him.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Chloe and her boyfriend sneak off during the party to engage in some secret lovemaking, but run headlong into the one zombie that infiltrated the rec center via the basement, causing them to be attacked and turned.
  • The Cavalry:
    • Denise shows up to rescue Ben and Carter several times throughout the film, including the climax, where she shows up to rescue the trio while they're trapped in the recreation center's gymnasium.
    • Our heroes get bailed out by an army sharpshooter on the way out of town.
    • The Cavalry Arrives Late: When a full army convoy finally shows up, the only target left is Scout Leader Rogers.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Ben is in the middle of changing his car tire after hitting that deer when he's invited to the seniors' 'secret party' (read: Distracted by the Sexy). After sundown, they're chased by zombies, make it to their car and start driving, which is precisely when the badly bolted tire comes right off.
    • One zombie is acting on its latent memories by bouncing on a trampoline when our heroes have to find something in the house next to it - and the zombie becomes the only one who can reach them on the second floor. The gun fires a second time when our heroes use the trampoline to escape from the second-floor window.
    • Just before that, our heroes are searching Kendall's room for her diary, and Ben deliberately avoids the lingerie drawer - which is precisely where she hid it!
  • Club Stub: At the start of the movie, the Boy Scouts consist of one adult leader and the three scouts, and their recruitment drive is far up shit creek.
  • Coming of Age Story: With zombies.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: The scouts and Denise wind up in the house of a lady who owns many cats. She is not home. Her cats are. And they're zombies.
  • Dead-Hand Shot: When Corporal Reeves dies and turns into a zombie, the camera lingers on his hand, showing that he was bitten there.
  • Dead Man's Trigger Finger: One of the zombies is a police officer and causes trouble for Ben and Carter as he fires his gun indiscriminately in all directions.
  • Determinator: Zombie Scout Leader Rogers simply will not stop chasing the scouts. He's tied up, burned, and run over, but he still shows up after the climax to be a bother. Augie lampshades this.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The gang runs away from the zombies until Carter sees one female zombie's top rip open and expose her very ample breasts. He stares for a while and cops a feel before running away.
  • The Door Slams You: Denise kills the zombie Corporal Reeves by slamming his head with a Humvee door.
  • Elite Zombie:
  • Eye Scream: Scout Leader Rogers kills a zombie deer by stabbing it in the eye with his lucky knife.
  • Facial Horror: The zombie that infiltrates the party and infects Travis and Chloe is missing its jaw.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • A topless stripper who is already a zombie with a gaping neck wound with blood spurting out of it.
    • The undead policewoman who gets caught in a fence and has her shirt rip open, leading Carter to stare at her exposed (veiny, decomposing) breasts before he cops a feel and runs away.
  • Freudian Trio: The three main characters.
    • Ego: Ben, the most diplomatic of the three.
    • Id: Carter, the wildest whose main interest is girls.
    • Superego: Augie, the most dedicated to being a scout.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • The zombie slowly approaching and trying to grab Augie through the bathroom window while he is taking a shit, wiping his ass and using air refreshener.
    • The zombie in the trampoline while Denise is telling Ben to pursue Kendall.
    • The obese zombie woman in a mobile scooter after the gang runs Zombie Scout Leader Rogers over.
  • Gorn: Hell yes! The movie doesn't shy away from some very graphic on-screen depictions of gore and violence in general.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Carter kills the zombie stripper by stabbing her in the head with a broken bottle.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Ben holds onto a zombie's penis as he hangs out the window of Kendall's bedroom, which then rips off as he falls with it. He tosses it away and it lands in another zombie's mouth.
    • Chloe gets turned (not in that sense) by a zombie biting her vagina.
  • Hard-to-Light Fire: Augie's lighter runs dry when he tries to light the bomb. Which is a good thing, because it buys time for Denise to show the trio the way out.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Travis is bitten by a zombie while Chloe listens to music on her headphones; she's completely oblivious until she looks up and sees the zombie biting her crotch.
  • Impaled Palm: Carter shoots a zombie in the hand during the climax, pinning the zombie to the wall.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Ben spears a zombie through the head with a mop.
    • Augie stabs a zombie through the mouth with a poker.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Who'd have thought chubby scouts poster child Augie is such a crack shot with a jury-rigged BFG?
  • Improvised Weapon: The scouts craft a handful of such weapons when they go into the hardware store just before the climax, crafting a lethal weed-whacker, crossbow and large-projectile gun (and a bomb) with items they find lying around. And they kill several other zombies with improvised materials like broken bottles, mops, pokers, and windows.
  • Incongruously-Dressed Zombie: One of the zombies in the first crowd is a rollerskater. Doubles as a Freeze-Frame Bonus. Not to mention Scout Leader Rogers' increasingly bedraggled uniform.
  • Insistent Terminology: Denise corrects Ben's initial remark that she's a stripper by telling him that she's a "cocktail waitress", and continues to insist upon this term to others throughout the film.
  • Jerkass: Jeff, Kendall's boyfriend.
  • Just in Time: Happens multiple times throughout the film.
    • Carter inadvertently saves Ben by throwing money in front of the undead stripper's face before she bites the latter at the strip club. Soon after, Denise saves Ben from being bit by the undead bouncer.
    • The trio shows up to rescue Kendall when she's trapped on a ladder and surrounded by zombies from both sides.
    • Denise shows up to rescue the trio when they're trapped in the rec center's gym and are trying to light the bomb.
  • Karmic Death: Jeff. He deliberately gives the Boy Scouts the wrong address, which prevents them from warning him about zombies, which gets him turned into a zombie who gets killed by Ben.
  • Made of Plasticine: The zombies, of course. The dumb janitor in the prologue actually caves in Patient Zero's entire chest cavity in his clumsy attempt at CPR, burying his hands and lower arms in squishy zombie innards in the process. Many other shamblers suffer similarly extensive injuries from more or less mundane attacks.
  • Man on Fire: Augie sets Zombie Scout Leader Rogers on fire.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Denise, for the troupe in general and Ben in particular.
  • Men of Sherwood: Militaries Are Useless gets a rare zombie movie subversion - the US army not only evacuates the town, but a soldier on patrol bails out our heroes. They just had no idea that a bunch of teens were holed up at a secret party... and they plan on carpet-bombing the whole town.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Denise, who spends the entire movie in a tank top and shorts. Ben and Carter take notice.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Carter has been this way to Ben about Kendall for a very long time, so much that she's been dating a Jerkass for a while.
  • Nail 'Em: Carter's weapon at the climax is a crossbow-type nail gun.
  • Oblivious Janitor Cut: The entire opening is a beautiful Lampshade Hanging and subversion all in one - the janitor rocks out on Iggy Azalea, but nothing happens to him after he takes the headphones off and enters the lab. The actual lab tech steps out while the janitor thinks Patient Zero on the table needs resuscitating, and as a result he falls victim while the lab tech is just outside, never hearing a thing until after it's too late.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • Ben slices Jeff's head off after he turns into a zombie. He also did it to scores of other ones before.
    • After turning into a zombie, Mrs. Fielder is decapitated with a broken window by Carter.
  • One Hit Poly Kill: Augie headshots three zombies in a row with one shot from his potato cannon during the climactic battle, shown in a lovingly detailed slow-motion Tracking Shot. He looks suitably pleased with himself afterwards.
  • Only Sane Man: Denise reacts this way when Augie tries to apply animal behavior to a zombie. In spite of her objections, it does work.
    Denise: That's a zombie, not a bear, dumbass.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Although the zombies have much in common with stock portrayals, they also seem to retain memories of their previous lives and act accordingly. Carter successfully baits one into singing Britney Spears' "Hit Me Baby, One More Time", the undead stripper at the club performs most of her act before attacking Ben and Carter, the bouncer that chases Ben into the strip club bathroom pauses and starts bashing open the stall doors one at a time looking for him, and another is seen driving a motorized buggy in the background after the scouts run over Scout Leader Rogers. Their particular zombifying process also seems to solely be spread by saliva (i.e., a bite), as Carter gets repeatedly sprayed in the face with undead blood, including a complete facial soaking while he screams (i.e., has an open mouth) and he does not end up becoming a zombie. Broken skin is also required, as shown when a zombie Miss Fielder gets her false teeth knocked from her mouth, and then bites Carter on the ass, only to gum ineffectively at him before Augie saves him. These zombies also seem particularly weak to the classic weakness, as Carter is also to kill zombies with an improvised crossbow slash nail gun by shooting them in the skull with said nails.
    • Some are capable of random bursts of physical energy that are unrelated to biting, like the all-fours zombie that knocks out a car, the zombie that crashes through a window or the old lady zombie that is capable of some hilarious karate moves.
  • Police Are Useless: Most of them are either evacuated or turned.
  • Practice Kiss: Denise gives Ben the opportunity to kiss her as a trial run after he admits to his crush on Kendall. They bonk heads on the first attempt, but a second effort meets with Denise's endorsement.
  • Punched Across the Room: Thrown, actually, but this happens to the unfortunate janitor in the prologue, courtesy of Patient Zero. Bonus slapstick points for his abuse being a Funny Background Event.
  • Race Against the Clock: The climax has the trio rushing to get into the party before it's overrun by zombies and Kendall is killed. Also they get to hear that their town will be carpet-bombed within 2 hours.
  • Raising the Steaks: There are zombie cats in the Crazy Cat Lady's house and a zombie deer figures into the plot on two occasions: when the protagonists ram it with their car and when it attacks Scout Leader Rogers.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Scout Leader Rogers' entire house is full of Dolly Parton merch.
  • Running Gag:
    • Carter can't face a zombie without getting their blood sprayed in his face.
    • Scout Leader Rogers is also subject to many humiliating injuries throughout the film, despite being undead. He's set on fire, hit in the head multiple times with large objects, is run over by a car, blown up by a grenade and has a pigeon poop on his head during The Stinger.
  • Safe Zone Hope Spot: One of the first things the main characters do after encountering zombies is drive to the police station. They find it abandoned, with a sign on the front door saying the town has been evacuated and a set of directions to the nearest military checkpoint outside of town.
  • Satellite Character: Aside from being Ben's crush and Carter's sister, Kendall gets little characterization.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Ben does it twice. First when they see the zombies at the strip club, and then again with the aforementioned zombie penis.
  • Seen It All: When Scout Leader Rogers shows up again after the climax, the scouts are so jaded that they nonchalantly start looking for something to stab him with. Then the military throws a grenade at his feet.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When the trio and Denise head towards the military checkpoint and encounter the lone zombie by the truck, they pass a road sign that details how many miles it takes to get to Haddonfield.
    • The zombified stripper being able to perform her act showing she has more intelligence may be a reference to the strippers from Zombie Strippers!.
    • Denise her surname is Russo which may be a reference to John Russo who wrote the screenplay for Night of the Living Dead (1968).
    • The jawless zombie with his tongue hanging out is likely a reference to Dr. Tongue in Dayofthe Dead 1985.
    • The scouts raiding a hardware store and MacGyvering weapons just screams Iron Man 3.
      • The DIY weapon montage is also a nod to the Dead Rising series. Combining an edged weapon and a weed-eater in-game makes a weapon that heavily resembles Ben's weapon in the climax.
    • Jeff tells Chloe to get pads, unaware of how dangerous she actually is.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: The Scouts missed the Zombie Apocalypse and evacuation because they were out of town camping. The cool kids at the rave realize what's going on even later.
  • Staking the Loved One: Carter has a crush on Chloe. During the climax, he comes face-to-face with her after she's been zombified, and has to put her down.
    Carter: Chloe? Oh man...
    [Chloe hisses, Carter puts a nail in her head]
  • Strong as They Need to Be: The speed of the zombies seems to vary from what is convenient for the plot, even if we do not take into account the elite zombie that appeared in a scene.
  • Tagline: "Always bring protection"
  • The Stinger: Scout Leader Rogers' head is still alive, despite the rest of him getting blown up with a grenade. A bird craps on his head and he groans, "Come on..." before turning to the audience and saying "The end!"
  • There Was a Door: Twice in succession - our heroes get their hands on a car, but can't open the garage door and have to make a dramatic crash out. Later on, they deliberately crash into the front of a hardware store, to arm up.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The three scouts become much more capable when they assault the rec center to save Kendall and the students, ripping apart dozens of zombies with their weapons before getting the teenagers out and fleeing to the gym.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ron the "One who started this whole f**cking Zombie Apocalypse mess" janitor.
  • Visual Pun: Ben uses a weaponized weed whacker on the zombies - he's literally mowing them down.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The end credits is a series of selfies showing Ben and Kendall at the prom, and a huge influx of Boy Scout recruits, likely due to our heroes' antics providing some massive publicity.
  • Your Head Asplode: A great many headshots applied to zombies result in a glorious explosion of gore. Taken to hilarious extremes with Augie's doorknob-shooting potato cannon during the climactic battle.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Thanks to a stupid janitor and lax security at a research center, the town is infested by zombies.
  • Zombie Gait: To be expected - which is precisely when one zombie starts Running on All Fours, which is a lot faster.
  • Zombie Infectee: The army sharpshooter who bails out our heroes shows zero signs of infection until it's nearly too late.