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Movie review: ‘Scouts Guide’ packed with gore, little else

Tye Sheridan, left, and Joey Morgan encounter a zombie in “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.”
Tye Sheridan, left, and Joey Morgan encounter a zombie in “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.” Paramount Pictures

About “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.” Well, it’s got that title going for it. So there’s that.

Zombies. Boy scouts (though not the official Boy Scouts of America; no way that organization would give its blessing to something like this.). Combined, they equal comedy. Or so would seem to be the premise, and the promise.

It’s a promise only intermittently kept, mostly in the form of genitalia-centric sight gags. That R rating is certainly earned. Hey, the scouts here are hormonal high school sophomores, so it follows that sophomoric humor is the order of the day. Zombie kitties with eyes all aglow in a dark room also generate a chuckle. But the actress playing the feral cat lady who owns them is Cloris Leachman. At 89, she looks every minute of her age here, and makes you wonder: How much money does an Oscar winner need in a lifetime to consider taking on a movie like this?

A movie like this is one where zombies run riot — No shambling! — people run screaming and the screen is drenched with blood and viscera. Usual zombie stuff, in other words.

The title suggests a concentration on the usefulness of scout skills to thwart the predations of the undead. There’s some of that, but director Christopher Landon and his writers are more interested in telling a tale of three teen buddies — a tubby geek, a sex-obsessed loudmouth and a virginal good kid — who have a falling-out over whether they’ve outgrown scouting, and maybe even, their friendship. Oh, and there’s also an older but wiser cocktail waitress, a beauty who turns their heads and gives the good kid useful dating tips. Keeps her clothes on too, which is a point in the movie’s favor.

The violence is extreme, and the language ... tsk. Very much at odds with the “clean and reverent” part of the official Scout law.

What we have here then is a typical raunchy teen comedy, with only its gushers of gore to set it somewhat apart from the pack.

SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

out of 5

Cast: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joseph Morgan.

Director: Christopher Landon.

Running time: 1:32.

Rated: R, for zombie violence and gore, sexual material, graphic nudity and language throughout.

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