Release Date(s)2015 (January 5, 2016)
Studio(s)Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment
- Film/Program Grade: C-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: D
Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse was released in 2015 with a relatively big release than most horror movies like it usually get, but being that it’s from Paramount who also took a chance on Friday the 13th in 1980, you can see a pattern emerging. It features a story about a couple of boy scouts whom, after trying to ditch their fellow scout and scoutmaster for a party, get caught up in a plague of zombies that are taking over their town. Sounds like a money-making premise, yet despite being given a big opening, the movie flopped and wasn’t very well-received.
I can understand why people didn’t turn up that much for Scouts Guide when it hit theaters. Besides just the glut of zombie anything in mainstream media, the so-called “clever” zombie movies have reached their breaking point. It also doesn’t help that the characters are cardboard cutouts from any edgy teen comedy that you can think of. None of them have anything to them beyond generic characteristics, and because of this, almost the entire first half of the movie is very much a chore to sit through. It takes a long time to get to the zombie stuff. A slow build isn’t a bad thing, but when you have characters that you don’t care about, getting to the zombies quicker suddenly becomes top priority. The first half almost feels like another movie in a sense, and perhaps it should have been. All of the women are sexy, there’s lots of drinking and partying, and characters are mostly self-absorbed until they’re confronted with zombies. It’s yawn-inducing stuff.
However, once the zombie stuff does kick in, the movie improves slightly. There’s some pretty good zombie make-up appliances and some fun kills here and there. Unfortunately, a lot of the blood splatters are CGI-based, which movies on low budgets nowadays are prone to do, but it still sticks out. It’s a shame too because this kind of movie needs more authenticity. There’s one scene involving a broken bottle of booze shoved into the face of a zombie with blood pouring out of the end of it. Clever moments like that pop up occasionally, but never in succession. The movie’s also quite colorful at times and doesn’t appear muted like a lot of horror movies nowadays, so I give it credit for that. Unfortunately, most of the movie is handheld and there aren’t many instances when the camera is actually locked down, but when it is, there are some nice visuals to be had.
Scout’s Guide to the Apocalypse certainly won’t please very many people, especially those of us who are tired of zombie-related media. It’s definitely a section of the horror genre that I just want to see die and go away for a while, even though I know it won’t any time soon with The Walking Dead still being popular. The genre is over and done with, despite lots low budget (and no budget) filmmakers still doing them on a regular basis. As a result, anything approaching interesting or clever in one of these movies makes them a little easier to watch. It’s just a tired and worn-out idea that doesn’t have anything new left to bring to the table. In other words, the phrase “it’s been done to death” thoroughly applies here.
The Blu-ray presentation of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse features a very strong and competent transfer. It’s very organic in appearance with some excellent texturing and detailing in the costumes, make-up, and background elements. Color reproduction is also great, showing off a variety of different color schemes, more than I was expecting. Flesh tones are also quite accurate. Blacks are inky deep with some nice shadow detail, and both contrast and brightness are at acceptable levels. There are no signs of digital enhancement to be found either. It’s a pretty solid presentation, overall. For the audio, you have several options: English 5.1 DTS-HD; French, Spanish, and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital; and English 2.0 DVS. The 5.1 track features a soundtrack that can be front-heavy at times, but does kick things up with the surround speakers as well. Dialogue is mostly clean and clear, and both sound effects and score have decent space to breathe. The music used in the movie has some thump to it too, particularly during club sequences, but doesn’t go overboard with it. There are also some good LFE moments, as well as some occasional ambience. It’s a fairly solid presentation, overall. There are also subtitles for those who need them in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The extras are brief and uninspired. They include four short featurettes (Scouts Guide to Filmmaking, The Zombie Makeup FX Handbook, Undead Movement Guidelines: Zombie Choreography, and Uniforms and You: Costume Design); 2 deleted scenes; a DVD copy of the movie; and a paper insert with a Digital Copy code.
I was hoping for something a little more clever and creative than what I got with Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, even though I knew going in that it probably wasn’t going to deliver on very many laughs. There are flourishes here and there that make the movie sort of worth a watch, but overall, it’s just a notch below generic. But, the movie does have its small group of fans, so this Blu-ray is most especially for them.
- Tim Salmons