Published Sep 01, 2004Leave it to the Brits to do what Hollywood ultimately can't and to do it right for a change. Marketed as a "rom zom com," or if you prefer, a "romantic comedy with zombies," you may get the idea that the Shaun of the Dead marketing team has balls, and it should after its monumental success back home. And while the undead in the film may be cut from the same stained cloth as the slow lumbering variety made famous by many a legendary horror filmmaker, including the oft-mentioned George A. Romero, the plot nevertheless charges ahead at a breakneck (and aim for the head!), frenetic pace.
This hilarious gorefest, written and directed by the mad geniuses behind Brit TV's Spaced, is without a doubt the best horror-comedy to bloody up the big screen in years. Shaun of the Dead is jammed to the hilt with nods to (and send-ups of) the Romero classics, as well as some well-placed social commentary on the rat race, British culture and much more.
As the title suggests, Shaun of the Dead is the story of Shaun (Simon Pegg, who also co-wrote), a down on his luck, pub-lovin' pathetic sod with a do nothing slob for a best mate, a job where he is neither taken seriously nor respected and a girlfriend who has (can we blame her?) just left him and that's only just the start of it. Soon the dead begin to rise too. And Shaun is inevitably forced to stop blindly ambling through the doldrums of his life (but perhaps not as soon as you'd expect and this of course is played up with gut-busting results). As the hordes of stumbling dead descend on our anti-hero and his awkward group of chums, they set out into the streets to save the ones he loves and hopefully stay alive along the way.
Shaun of the Dead is a work of staggering comedic genius, but more surprisingly it is dead smart and packed with endearing characters you find yourself both rooting for and crying into your lager with. This is something rarely pulled off successfully in horror-comedies, a collection of "fun rides" rarely known for their brains
Shaun is the bumbling everyman, good at heart but served with a constant foul dish of bad luck. He doesn't want to be a hero (though he becomes one), he just wants his girl back and the zombies to stop invading his home, his city and his favourite place for a pint. You know what? That's just noble enough. (Alliance Atlantis)