Our campouts were never like this

Finally got to read BOY SCOUTS VS ZOMBIES, a horror comedy that ranked on the Black List.

The concept: A troop of Boy Scouts on their weekend camping trip must protect an island town after a zombie outbreak and save the local girl scout troop.

Personally, I’m getting a little tired of the whole zombie thing (although ZOMBIELAND was fun), this sounded interesting.  Seeing as how I was a Boy Scout (big surprise, right?), I wanted to see what the writers, Carrie Evans and Emi Mochizuko, would do with it.

First and foremost: A really fast read.  I zipped through this thing in about 90 minutes.  The whole thing really moves along.

I was also surprised how just about all the characters veer into stereotypes. The somewhat bland main character who’s too shy to tell the girl he likes her, the too-cool friend, the fat slob other friend, the mama’s boy, the overenthusiastic scoutleader, and so on.

It was a little difficult keeping track of all the characters, especially since the first half really focuses on the boys, then really adding the girls into the mix around halfway.  It was also pretty easy to tell which characters were going to be the token redshirts.

Once it settled into ‘will they survive or won’t they?’ mode, I was trying to figure out which characters would be the surprise death.  Surprisingly, that didn’t happen.

And the subplot about the top-secret lab where the whole thing starts seems to disappear after they decide to send out the commandos to neutralize the situation.  Some kind of follow-up would have been nice.

I’d also like to add that technically, the zombies here are the “infected with a virus that simulates zombie-like characteristics” type rather than the truly living dead.  This seems to be the go-to reasoning behind a lot of recent zombie stories.  I guess that’s easier than figuring out how to really raise the dead.  George Romero used radiation, so why not something similar?  But I digress.

Some of the jokes fell a little flat, but there were a handful that made me laugh out loud.  I especially liked the line after one girl turns zombie and tries to eat her friends, one says “Jenny! No! You’re a vegan!”  I also liked how even as everything around them is going to hell, the scouts try to take care of things via the Scout Handbook.  Again, I’m biased.  I don’t know if the guys in my troop would have been able to keep their heads like this.

I wasn’t crazy about when the wide margins would say something about the characters that should really come across in their actions and dialogue (“Matt’s dad has great expectations for his son, and they don’t involve fat slackers and comic books.”)  I always thought this sort of thing was frowned upon, but these two writers were in Disney’s Writing Program, so maybe there are exceptions.

I also wasn’t sure about the idea that a zombie can do the same things they did when they were alive, like a rock climber who turns into a zombie remembers how to climb a cliff.  It seems a little weak.

I really think with a little tweaking here and there, this thing could be fantastic.  It’s already been picked up for production, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do with it.

Would I pay to see it in the theatre?  Probably not.  But I’d definitely put it in the Netflix queue.

This is my last post for 2010, and since I haven’t seen that many movies in the theatres this year, I don’t have a list of my top 10 picks.  I’m just happy to be able to watch so many good flicks, and still plan on my own stuff being part of that someday.

Have a great 2011, and feel free to drop a note once in a while.

p.s.  Almost forgot.  If you’d like to take a look at any of these scripts, let me know and I’ll forward it to you.

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