Directed by Edgar Wright
Reviewed by Adam, added on Jan 1 2005
I'm one of those poor bastards that lives in an area that isn't showing "Shaun of the Dead" in it's local theaters. I was lucky enough to see the film, however - just don't ask me how...
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a man with a directionless life. He's stuck in a dead-end job; he repeatedly neglects his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield); he has a terrible relationship with his stepfather, Philip (Bill Nighy); and his best friend, Ed (Nick Frost), is a moronic slob. Tired of his lazy, go-nowhere attitude, Liz dumps Shaun, giving Shaun the desire to shape up and fly right. One day, Shaun gets his chance - the dead inexplicably return to life, wrecking havoc throughout London. Suddenly, Shaun is forced to grow up, take action, and save his friends and family from a horde of zombies.
First of all, let me say that this isn't a comedy with horror elements; this is a horror/comedy hybrid (much more emphasis on the horror side) in the tradition of the "Evil Dead" films. For the most part, "Shaun of the Dead" is a serious look at a man attempting to get his shit together, with pesky zombies getting in the way of progress. Let us not forget, either, that this is a zombie film, with plenty of zombie action (and gore - oh, the gore) to keep horror fans happy. Don't think, however, that this means the film isn't funny. No, this film is downright friggin' hilarious. Ed doesn't have a single line in the whole damn movie that didn't make me giggle my ass off. The last moment between Shaun and Ed is comedy gold.
What I love the most about this film is how much it makes you care for its characters. Unlike the characters in most shallow horror comedies (like "Scary Movie"), you really care about Shaun and his gang. When someone bites the dust (or, rather, is bitten), it truly means something. The characters aren't just cannon-fodder; they're honest, realistic people with true emotions. I just love it when horror writers take the time to develop their characters beyond the usual half-naked bimbos.
You don't have to be a horror fan to enjoy "Shaun of the Dead," but it wouldn't hurt. There are many in-jokes that recall some of the best zombie films, such as the George Romero "Dead" series. Those that have never seen these films won't understand lines like, "We're coming to get you Barbara!" OK, so maybe this film would work best for horror fans. Chances are, horror fans are the only people that would even consider seeing a "romantic zombie comedy," as "Shaun of the Dead" is being billed. If you even bothered to read this review, chances are quite good that you are, in fact, a horror fan. If you do belong to this crowd, do whatever it takes to see this movie - and do so soon.