Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 10-Mar-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy / Horror Featurette-Making Of-Scouts Guide To Filmmaking
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Zombie Makeup FX Handbook
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Undead Movement Guidelines: Zombie Choreography
Featurette-Uniforms and You: Costume Design
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 92:45
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Christopher Landon
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Tye Sheridan
Logan Miller
Joey Morgan
Sarah Dumont
David Koechner
Halston Sage
Cloris Leachman
Niki Koss
Hiram A. Murray
Patrick Schwarzenegger
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Matthew Margeson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
German
Spanish
French
Italian
Japanese
Dutch
Norwegian
Finnish
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† A curious amalgam of Zombieland, The Goonies and any number of John Hughes films, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is an amusingly-titled production full of potential, continuing the current media fascination with the undead. Following in the shadow of flicks like Cockneys vs. Zombies and Navy SEALs vs. Zombies, this particular endeavour pits socially awkward teens against hordes of flesh-eaters. However, in the hands of director Christopher Landon (last seen at the helm of 2014ís abominable Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones), Scouts Guide is not as hilarious or as taut as one might expect, only coming alive during isolated moments. Itís a technically proficient horror-comedy, but it is a bit uninspired on the whole, lacking the spark of wittiness that has elevated similar productions.

††† At a lab in suburban California, a resting zombie is disturbed by a careless janitor, leading to a plague outbreak that rapidly spreads across the town. Meanwhile, high school scout members Ben (Tye Sheridan) and Carter (Logan Miller) are preparing to attend a camp-out celebration with well-meaning pal Augie (Joey Morgan), which they intend to be their swan song as scouts. Invited to a secret senior party, Ben and Carter ditch Augie for the night, but soon find that the town has been overrun by bloodthirsty zombies. Teaming up with resourceful strip-club waitress Denise (Sarah Dumont), the two adolescent scouts brave the doomsday scenario as they attempt to find their way to the party, while Augie has his own experiences with the undead horde.

††† To the credit of screenwriters Carrie Lee Wilson and Emi Mochizuki (with input from Landon), Scouts Guide makes a genuine attempt to develop the core trio of teens in the first act to ensure that we have a reason to care about them when theyíre exposed to mortal danger. In spite of the inherent clichťs, there is fun to be had and the characterisations are effective enough. However, there are a few too many ill-advised deviations into serious territory, including Augieís disappointment that Ben and Carter choose to not only ditch him, but leave scouts. Itís an attempt to add a degree of heart to the proceedings, but it comes off as perfunctory rather than an organic constituent of the narrative. And while there are some funny moments here, Scouts Guide comes up short in terms of belly-laughs, which doesnít do the pacing any favours. The movie may be bite-sized at under an hour-and-a-half, but itís undeniably spotty.

††† Nevertheless, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse does hit its mark from time to time, with vignettes that revel in the type of silliness we would expect to see from a movie of this ilk. One of the more humorous plot digressions involves the boysí beloved Scout Leader Rogers (David Koechner), who shows up at various times throughout the night, while a zombie Britney Spears fan sings along to ďHit Me Baby One More Time,Ē and thereís a chase set to Dolly Partonís ď9 to 5Ē in a fanís merchandise-laden home. Landon embraces the irreverent tone - thereís one moment involving a zombie p**** that amuses, and we get to see Cloris Leachman as a zombie who canít bite into anybody after losing her false teeth. Itís all executed with style, benefitting from impressive zombie make-up and gore effects, and Scouts Guide also introduces its own recognisable brand of zombies. Acting across the board is respectable, particularly Sheridan, who grounds the movie by playing the material straight.

††† Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse has its moments and is enjoyable on the whole, but the problem is that it was produced in the shadow of funnier, scarier and wittier zombie comedies like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, who represent the gold standard for this subgenre. Furthermore, itís not as incisive or cutting edge as Cabin in the Woods. Still, the movie is not a total misfire, thanks to its competent direction and a number of energetic action scenes. The climax is particularly fun, with the troupe battling hundreds of zombies using whatever makeshift weapons they can find. Scouts Guide is easy viewing and itís not a waste of time, but it could have been superior in more assured hands.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse arrives on Blu-ray with a respectable but unremarkable 1080p presentation, framed at the movieís original aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Perhaps owing to the low budget and the stylistic choices discussed in the special features, the transfer falls short of excellence, sporting an overly basic, at times flat look, lacking that pop of cinematic quality to elevate it above ďpretty goodĒ territory.

††† In most departments, this AVC-encoded image fares well, with terrific sharpness and sufficient detail on faces and clothing. Itís a crystal-clear image, allowing us to sit back and examine every individual scout badge, not to mention marvel at the impressive, gory make-up effects. In close-ups, you can count the hairs on the actorsí heads, while environments look rich and colour is stable, maintaining the somewhat muted palette that cinematographer Brandon Trost strived to achieve. However, the video is not as richly-refined or as detailed as other, more high profile releases, whether by design or not.

††† Luckily, the image does not fall victim to many encoding anomalies. There is a tiny bit of noise from time to time that appears to be source-related, but thankfully it isnít distracting. The third act of the movie involves a frenetic bloodbath under dim, neon dance-floor lighting, and the transfer ably handles the sequence, maintaining top-notch clarity and never falling victim to crush, nor are there any trace of aliasing. There is a scout video thatís poor quality by design, but the transfer is otherwise strong. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse looks terrific in HD; itís a fine effort from the folks at Paramount.

††† Multiple subtitle options are available.


Video Ratings Summary
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Shadow Detail
Colour
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Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† Paramount offers a lossless English DTS-HD MA 5.1 track on this disc, which ably handles all of the zombie mayhem, though it falls short of perfection. Dialogue is not as clear or as well-prioritised as it should be; itís mixed a touch too low compared to the various gunshots and screams from the undead. Still, itís acceptable, and at least the release has subtitles. Added to this, scenes in the strip club and at the rave arenít as impactful as one would expect, though there is still decent bass and subwoofer activity.

††† On the upside, gunshots and screeches sound crisp and loud, while thereís enough noticeable surround channel activity and directionality in certain scenes. Luckily, no encoding issues stem from this track; itís smooth sailing. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse sounds very good on Blu-ray.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† A very respectable selection of video extras.

Scouts Guide To Filmmaking (HD; 29:34)

††† Straight off the bat, this is the main attraction of the extras. Rather than something fluffy or promotional, this is a solid, informative, fun half-hour behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the movie. Thereís tonnes of on-set footage here, interspersed with interviews as the cast and crew talk about inspirations, the tone, the rating, the cast, the practical effects, the writing process, the cameras, and so on. Even though it does get a bit self-congratulatory towards the end, this is still an excellent featurette, and it shows that everybody involved in the production was passionate about creating a good movie.

The Zombie Makeup FX Handbook (HD; 5:37)

††† This is a closer look at the zombie make-up effects, with Tony Gardner discussing his approach to the undead for this particular motion picture. Oodles of fun B-roll and make-up application footage is seen here.

Undead Movement Guidelines: Zombie Choreography (HD; 5:12)

††† Veteran choreographer Mark Steger leads this featurette to talk about his approach to zombie movement for this particular production. Again, thereís plenty of on-set footage, on top of footage taken during rehearsals. Interesting.

Uniforms and You: Costume Design (HD; 5:11)

††† The final featurette on this disc is concerned with the costume design. The costumes arenít exactly revolutionary here, but itís interesting to hear costume designer Marylou Lim talk about her approach to each of the main characters, and the challenges of working on a low budget.

Deleted Scenes (HD; 2:36)

††† Two amusing additions which didnít make the final cut. These are worth watching, though the movie was probably better off without them, as they donít add much.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † The Region A edition appears to be identical. Buy local.

Summary

††† As long as you can temper your expectations, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is a fun romp whenever it gets into its groove, but don't expect Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead.

††† Paramount's Blu-ray is reasonable on the whole. Video is good but not great, while audio is strong, and there is a terrific supply of special features. I just wish there was an audio commentary to top off the package. All things considered, this disc is worth a look.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

Other Reviews NONE
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