Shaun of the Dead (2004)

March 28, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

A rom-com with zom(bies), Shaun of the Dead perfectly marries comedy and horror, making for a bulletproof film sporting a vest  made of fried gold. Edgar Wright is one of the few amazing young directors working in the film-making business today, and with the few films he’s done, Shaun of the Dead still stands as his masterpiece. The comedy is quotable, hilarious and satirical, the direction is quick and clever with its share of bloody-grand zombie effects, and the slacker duo played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are perfect comedy cult icons.

Edgar Wright spins the story on film at a comfortable pace, and makes the film work on so many levels. The editing and direction reflects the witty comedy; for example, Wright has Shaun flipping through different channels, and the portions of dialogue we hear from each channel spits out the expository dialogue as a whole. The montages hit fast and hard, making the standard everyday lives of Shaun and Ed a visual ride. In short, Wright can film someone making coffee exciting. The film oozes with clever, witty humor and Wright delivers it in the perfect spotlight. Also on point are the gore effects, and in this film they’re incredibly accurate, and delivered in chunky, curdling splashes.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play Shaun and Ed, and they knock it out the park onto the moon. Simon Pegg plays Shaun, the slacker wasting away in a dead-end job at an electronics store who’s trying to get his ex-girlfriend back. Pegg plays Shaun to perfection, with pin-point comedic timing and a natural likability with an under-dog pull on the audience. Pegg, as Shaun, displays his talents by projecting the everyday slacker who is naturally funny, but is also a well-rounded character, as we see him straightening out his life via zombie apocalypse. The second spotlight belongs to Nick Frost playing Ed, a slacker that’s comfortable with being unimpressive. Frost, as Ed, just doesn’t care about anything but kicking back and beering the day away. He’s got two modes: party and kick-back. Together, Pegg and Frost have better chemistry than the best duos in any rom-com. The bromance, along with the romance, horror and the comedy, work better because of these two British gents.

Shaun of the Dead should be put on everyone’s list of films to bring on a deserted island. It never feels stale, it mixes three genres (Comedy, Horror, and a pinch of Drama), and the dialogue is endlessly quotable. From Shaun and Ed selectively flinging Shaun’s record collection at a couple of zombies, to the pool-stick beat-down at the Winchester to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” this film is an offbeat, quirky masterpiece that draws laughs, elicits scares, and even surprises viewers with endearing moments.

Potential Drawbacks:

Don’t like satire, dry humor, zombies or British people? I guess this isn’t for you.
One more thing–for adults only should be stamped onto this bad-boy.

Film Recommendations:

Hot Fuzz

A little extra something…

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