A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is an over-the-top comedy packed with language, gore, and sex. The heroes are three high school boys who use plenty of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and much more), and the zombie killing includes lots of graphic, outrageous (albeit comic in tone) displays of gore, from severed body parts to exploding heads and gushes of blood. Teens are shown kissing and thinking about sex, and one scene shows a zombie performing oral sex on a teen girl. Two topless female zombies are shown, and a teen boy squeezes one's breasts. Women are also objectified in general -- shown in skimpy clothing, walking in slow motion, etc. The teen heroes arrange to buy beer for a party, though they never drink it.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Friends Ben (Tye Sheridan), Carter (Logan Miller), and Augie (Joey Morgan) are the only scouts in town, and though it's embarrassing, they stick together to support Augie. But on the night Augie is set to get the coveted Condor badge, Carter's invited to a senior party, and he wants Ben to go with him. So they ditch Augie at the campsite and head into town, only to discover that everyone is gone, and flesh-eating zombies are on the loose. A shotgun-wielding strip bar hostess, Denise (Sarah Dumont), helps them out. Before long, they realize they have to evacuate, but not without finding the party and rescuing Carter's pretty sister, Kendall (Halston Sage), whom Ben has a crush on. The scouts will have to use all their merit badge knowledge to survive.
Is it any good?
Though it’s spirited and centers on some likable-enough characters, this zom-com isn't terribly inventive with its zombie attacks and gore, and it offers very few surprises or fresh laughs. SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE borrows ideas from dozens of other movies, ranging from Dead-Alive and Zombie Strippers to Zombieland, but it passes them off as fresh to viewers who might not know any earlier zombie films.
The movie also goes for quick, easy (lazy?) shocks via nudity, blood spatters, and foul language. It's a choice that tends to spoil the goodwill built by the main characters, who are all innocent goofballs. The "scout" angle is the only new idea here, but even that isn't used well. Everything leads up to a "stockpiling artillery" montage of the kind already used in many other movies; the boys' scout skills don't necessarily contribute anything. This movie should "be prepared" to be forgotten.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalpyse's violence. How is the impact affected by the movie's comic tone? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
How is sex portrayed in the movie? How does it compare to the way sex is treated in other raunchy teen comedies? How much sexual content in media is appropriate for kids?
What's the appeal of zombie movies? How are funny zombies different from scary zombies?
Why would Carter and Ben ditch Augie to go to a party? What do they think will happen? What do they learn/find out instead?
- In theaters: October 30, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: January 5, 2016
- Cast: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Halston Sage
- Director: Christopher Landon
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: zombie violence and gore, sexual material, graphic nudity, and language throughout
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.