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Shaun of the Dead (2004)

October 31, 2009

9/10 Headshots

Might just be the best horror movie of the past ten years. Definitely the best horror comedy of the past ten years, if not ever.

Shaun of the Dead is about a guy in England who’s a deadbeat boyfriend, has a deadbeat best friend, and is stuck in a dead-end job where he everyone treats him like shit. Then one day everyone in town starts turning into zombies, so he mans up, grabs his cricket bat (is that even what it’s called?) and his best friend, and head out to rescue his girlfriend and parents from before they become zombies too.

I was thinking about reviewing The Exorcist or The Shining for this most special day of days, but I’ve been meaning to get around to this one for a while now and isn’t this just more fun than projectile green vomit and dead guys getting it on in bear suits? Why, yes it is!

I’m really glad that this movie has become such a cult phenomenon and risen up from its initial obscurity when it was first out in theaters, these are the kinds of movie that deserve more credit than they usually get; a Cut The Crap movie if there ever was one. Then again, I can see how an American audience might not see the appeal to watching a British horror comedy starring British actors that no one knows with British accents that are sometimes far more frustrating than amusing (my thoughts exactly when I first saw the trailer for Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels way back when). But America, now that Shaun of the Dead has become a household name (at least I think it has), you have proven yourselves a people of the world. Go ahead and give yourselves a pat on the back, I am damn proud of you.

It should be no surprise that when Zombieland came out (let alone every horror comedy that has come out over the last five years), everyone immediately compared it to Shaun of the Dead. That’s because Shaun set the bar at a very high level on every front. This was the first movie that really nailed how a someone would react if the zombie apocalypse went down; yeah, it would suck, but it would also be pretty fun. Who am I kidding, I’d have a freakin’ time during the zombie apocalypse!

The script is written by Simon Pegg (Shaun) and the director, Edgar Wright, and it is freakin’ hilarious. It doesn’t stick to just one kind of humor as it blends satire and Three Stooges and fart jokes and an unreal amount of great running gags that all serve to send up the zombie sub-genre while honoring it at the same time. Outside of Monty Python, British humor doesn’t usually do it for me, but every time I see this movie I crack up at all the same parts and catch jokes I missed because I couldn’t hear them over myself the first time around.

The characters are also fantastic and really well-rounded. Unlike in a lot of zombie movies where you don’t really give a shit about who dies and who doesn’t, Shaun does a great job of making the audience sympathize with the characters when the people around them start kicking the bucket. It gets pretty heavy at times, which is a good thing, but thankfully Nick Frost is there as Shaun’s best friend, Ed, to lighten the mood. I’m all for Simon Pegg and his quick rise to fame after this movie came out, but I’m amazed that Nick Frost’s career hasn’t taken off likewise. Dude is an absolute riot, has the best lines, and deserves to be in more movies.

Bill Nighy is also in it as Shaun’s stepdad. I like Bill Nighy, even though he does seem to take any crap role that’s thrown his way. Still, he was awesome in Love Actually.

Before this thing gets too long, director Edgar Wright also deserves a big effing mention. Such an freaking great director that has such a unique eye and does a great job of making his movies feel infectious as they cut from scene to scene at a mile-a-minute. Even though he’s only done two movies, I just love watching Wright tell a story. No one does it like him, this might be the impetus I need to finally get around to watching his TV series, Spaced (also featuring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost).

Man, if you haven’t seen this movie, you don’t know what you’re missing. Even if you’re not into horror movies, Shaun of the Dead is still a painfully funny trip. And even if you don’t like comedies (lighten up, dude), Shaun of the Dead is still a totally awesome horror movie, especially for fans of the genre who can catch all the references. For those of you who don’t like horror or comedy, see it anyway, this might just be a turning point in your life.

Shaun of the Dead said all there is to say about zombies and said it perfectly. For the rest of you horror comedy writers out there, sorry to break it to ya’, but it’s all down hill from here.

Oh, and happy Halloween, everybody!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Branden permalink
    October 31, 2009 3:32 pm

    I’m not a big fan of British humor and it’s hard for me to like a British comedy. I liked this movie.

    I enjoyed “Zombieland” much more than this movie. I loved the ending of the movie.

    P.S. I never read so many “freaks” in one review in my life.

  2. October 31, 2009 5:44 pm

    Nick Frost’s lack of success away from Pegg and Wright is most likely due to his thick accent and his girth. Out of the two Pegg looks more affable and can be sold to the general public more easily. Both are great though, as is this film. I’m a biog fan of dry humor and SotD delivers it in spades.

  3. November 1, 2009 12:47 pm

    I must be the only person alive who thinks this film is sh*t. Maybe Im not alive, maybe im a goddam, sh*t-sucking vampire. or a zombie.

  4. Reece permalink
    August 14, 2010 7:25 pm

    This film is pure shit

    • August 15, 2010 7:02 pm

      Your comment fits the shit bill actually. Offer something constructive, or at the very least funny or don’t offer anything at all.

      • August 15, 2010 10:36 pm

        Oh, Bill. Love it when the readers fight my battles and take the words right out of my mouth. My man.

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