*NEW* SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE REVIEW *NEW*

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Stupid, OTT, juvenile and absolutely hilarious!

Three scouts, on the eve of their last camp-out, discover the true meaning of friendship when they attempt to save their town from a zombie outbreak.

You knew what you were getting yourself into from the crazy opening sequence with Blake Anderson’s janitor (Workaholics) singing away to Iggy Azealia’s Black Widow while a zombie outbreak was brewing in a lab.

It was a brave move to have a virtually unknown cast running the show BUT the lads certainly delivered and will be ones to watch for the future. The feeble story line was a little predictable and formulaic. The camp fire shenanigans and petty squabbling about high school and quitting scouts was a little boring. BUT once the undead entered the mix, things got going and I was sniggering to the end.

The pace zipped and there were some genuine laugh out loud moments. A scene involving a zombie and a trampoline delivered an unexpected and outrageous gag. This was very much in the crazy style of Zombieland BUT the best way to sum up Scout’s Guide would be “If American Pie was a zombie flick . . .”

A group of horny teens trying to save the day. It was exactly what you could expect. Logan Miller’s quest for the perfect apocalyptic selfie with a pornstar looking police officer. A casual Britney Spears sing song with a zombie. A dodgy gum job from Cloris Leachman’s (Young Frankenstein) zombie neighbour. Yup. That sort of movie.

Tye Sheridan and Halston Sage’s (Paper Towns) love subplot was weak. If anything, I thought his character was going to hook up with Dumont’s sexy tomboy stripper (Sorry, cocktail waitress). So there was one surprise. Dumont may have stole my heart (What?) BUT Joey Morgan was definitely the main scene stealer as the over enthusiastic Augie.

The gore was brilliant and used quite inventively. Especially in the stripper club slaughter scene. Miller’s Carter using a bottle to smash in a zombie’s skull, only for the blood to pour out of the bottle neck and spill all over his face.

A blood-fuelled rave sequence delivered carnage a-plenty and a fitting homage to Peter Jackson’s cult classic Braindead. The nerdy saviors kitted out with an arsenal of weaponry; paintball guns, golf clubs, lawn strimmers! Perfect.

The biggest star that I could clock in this mad little zom com was Anchorman’s David Koechner. He certainly delivered as the deluded scout leader with a strange obsession for Dolly Parton. It was just a shame that he was reduced to only a few scenes.

It may have been in the same vein as Zombieland BUT it fell short by comparison. It was never going to match my favourite zom rom-com Shaun of the Dead BUT it certainly didn’t deserve the low Metacritic rating and panning that it has received.

Funny, mental, if a little flawed and predictable BUT fun. I think this one was unlucky to get lost in the SPECTRE and Hunger Games buzz. Shame. Definitely worth a watch for a quick laugh.

3/5

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*NEW* KRAMPUS REVIEW *NEW*

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Ho-ho-horrible. Dark, demented, different.

I normally dread the Christmas period. The inevitable corny and schmaltzy monstrosities we call Christmas movies haunting every possible TV channel (Jingle All The Way being the exception. What?). BUT this latest offering brings a different kind of dread altogether!

A boy (Emjay Anthony) who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good horror and even more so during Christmas. The opening sold me straight away with the Black Friday carnage as the shoppers descend on the morbid mall. Fighting, scrapping, crying. The true meaning of Christmas.

It was great to see a small and underrated cast, containing some of my favourite comedy supporting actors, getting the chance to take the stage; Adam Scott (Step Brothers), David Koechner (Anchorman), Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men) and Alison Tolman (Fargo).

The dysfunctional family was set up perfectly and it wasn’t long before it all kicked off and poor little Max made a wish that he would soon regret. The slow burning build up to Krampus’ inevitable appearance was a little tedious but once he made his introduction with his devilish critters in tow, I was hooked.

The CGI, make up and special effects were fantastic. The demented goat hybrid Krampus and his freakish little followers were something else. This certainly isn’t for the little ‘uns. A mangled teddy bear, a freaky angel of death, a robot with knives for hands, a grotesque jack in the box and a partridge in a . . . Okay, I’ll stop.

This felt like a “What if Gremlins went darker” scenario and boy, did it! It wasn’t afraid to bump people off. The tone was a little uneven. It was either too dark in one sequence, then too silly in another. However, there were still some creepy and hilarious moments. A particular highlight being Koechner’s confrontation with some killer gingerbread men.

The main plaudits have to go to Koechner as shotgun toting, pick up driving red neck Howard with his tomboy daughters in tow. Every one liner and reaction stole the show for me; ” I just had my ass handed to me by christmas cookies”. I just loved the fact he named his pick up truck Lucinda. “Give her a full tank of gas and we can be storming the beaches of Normandy by sunrise”.

It did feel like Krista Sadler’s Austrian grandmother was only brought into the mix to make the folklore element that bit more authentic. Most people in the audience kept wondering why she was speaking German in the first place. Especially when nobody else did.

The folklore was a fresh take and I was pleasantly surprised. Her creepy storytelling did allow for a brilliant animated sequence that teased elements of The Cabinet of Dr Kaligari as she explained the origins of St. Nicholas’ shadow.

At it’s best, it was tense, funny and oh so dark. BUT at it’s worst . . .

The pace had the tendency to dip and out which killed a good portion of the suspense. More could have been made out of the characters. Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine) and Tolman were heavily underused in their roles. There was so much potential with their fractured relationship BUT it was never going to be that sort of film. And there definitely wasn’t enough of Ferrell’s drunken aunt.

They even missed out on a trick or two with the scares. Hardly a spoiler BUT I really expected something to happen with the creepy snowmen that surrounded the house. BUT alas . .  .

The ending was rushed and tragically predictable. A shame after things finally seemed to kick off for a frantic finale as Max must help his messed up family. BUT luckily there was still enough to make this a reasonably entertaining and dark little Christmas treat.

3/5

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES * REVIEW

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Was it an Anchorman too far?

Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I’ve just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. I need all of you, to stop what you’re doing and listen. Cannon- No, the verdict is in! The streets, I mean, the box offices will rain with Burgundy’s blood.

A mixed bag. From the get-go, it was random, mental and funny as hell. It ticked all the boxes; the epic voice over, the crazy soundtrack and all the original cast back. But bigger and better? Well . . .

The first 45 minutes were epic. I was worried that this sequel would suffer from a case of “all the best bits in the trailer” syndrome BUT the Winnebago scene was so much funnier than I thought it would be. In fact, some of the trailer tasters weren’t even used. For example when the news anchor team mistake a gay guy for a vampire.

It was always going to be tough to top the original. It was a sleeper hit that, by any standard, shouldn’t have worked. I mean, come on. News anchor street brawls, bear fights and some of the most insane quotes possible! Unfortunately, this time around, it fell short of the hype.

I couldn’t believe it had been over a decade. The cast certainly hadn’t lost any of their mojo BUT once the two hour marker had passed, my smile had gone. That frenetic hilarity of the first half had evaporated into a dull and drawn out affair with the jokes getting worse.

David Koechner’s Champ Kind originally annoyed me in the first one BUT this time around, he was fantastic! BUT Steve Carrell, on the other hand. The legend that was Brick Tamland. He infuriated me the most. He may have delivered the odd moment BUT the dull love subplot with Kristen Wiig’s Chani (Bridesmaids) really spoiled things. It wasn’t what I expected at all.

On paper, the pairing of these two incredibly funny people sounded perfect. Their first encounter was hilarious and the chemistry was superb. BUT it went on far too long and fizzled out very quickly. There wasn’t one quotable gag. Not even an “I LOVE LAMP!”

Anchorman was always ridiculous but enjoyable. Adam McKay and Will Ferrell take this second outing to a whole new level of crazy that just doesn’t quite come off. The outcome of this film will depend on your level of expectation. Some will be left disappointed and peeved while others will love it. BUT for me it’s NOT as good as the original.

There was another news fight brawl and the cameos! My God. I couldn’t believe how many people popped up in those five mental minutes. However, the longer it went on, the sillier it got. It was too much and withered away after a funny if stupidly long build up.

As the film carried on, the gags were very hit and miss. Some were just random as hell and baffling while others had me in tears. There was barely any Baxter this time round. I don’t want to spoil too much BUT it was still very watchable and for a good portion, I enjoyed it.

BUT I wouldn’t hold out for a third outing. IT IS DEFINITELY WORTH A GANDER IF YOU’RE AN ANCHORMAN FAN OR JUST A FAN OF ANY OF THE CAST, JUST DON’T SET YOUR SIGHTS TOO HIGH! (I’m sorry, someone put it in capital letters and an exclamation mark, I thought I had to shout it).

3/5