“Shaun of the Dead”
Stars: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton
Writers: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
Dir: Edgar Wright
I just can’t do it. I can’t. To attempt this right now would be a disservice. I’ll come back when I sort my life out…
Crap. Nothing has changed … But neither did anything for the hero of this great horror-comedy gem for which I have been badgered about since the inception of this tiny blog. For so many lovers of “Shaun of the Dead,” I have met just as many detractors.
“It’s too funny; zombie movies should not be that funny.”
“I guess it is funny. It had a moment or two where I laughed, but I thought it was too boring.”
“It was just an excuse to reference better movies.”
For a film I now feel is beloved and embraced in zombie-lore, I thought it prudent to point out not everyone loved it. The first time I watched it, I have to admit, I was laughing and shaking my head rather than embracing the not-so-subtle Romero/Tarantino/zombie film etc., references.
And, from me, to the detractors, I have a week-old litter box you can lick.
Of course, the film opens with some drinking, creative swearing, flatulent humor, and obvious horror film references (Shaun works for Foree Electronics, mentioning co-worker Ash is a bit under the weather), which, at first, took this nerd out of the movie. It later sent me giggling like a moron while at the same time embracing it as the love-letter it is to classic zombie lore.
You know the story by now. Zombies break-out. Lines are drawn. And everyone winds up going to the Winchester to have a pint and wait it all out.
Well, not quite.
Shaun is a resolute screw-up. His relationship with his girlfriend Liz is about to end, he adores his Mum (whom calls him “Pickle”) but often forgets about her, and his best friend, Ed, might be holding him back from doing anything with his life worthwhile. Liz’s friends think Shaun is a loser, and one of them might have designs on making sure Liz leaves Shaun so that he might have a chance at her.
Shaun thinks he is still in college, where playing “Timecrisis II” every night, getting drunk and listening to “electro” with flatulent Ed are the highlights of his day. Doldrums, routine, and familiarity rule his life. At the chance he might lose the cute blonde woman of his dreams amid a zombie uprising, Shaun finally kicks into action, with the aid of his leeching friend, a fat, potheaded louse who not only finds humor in the zombie invasion, but also suggests probable armaments, inopportune photo-ops, that a trophy gun over a bar is loaded, and that dogs can look up.
Some of the more hilarious moments of this film take place before the zombies show up. For me, the drunken scene in the Winchester with music from “Phantasm” pinging in the background as Ed describes the former lives of patrons is a huge highlight; the out of doors drunken mixmaster session with a zombie down the street is also great; the switching of television stations to piecemeal together reports mimicking “Dawn” and “Night” dialogue was rather amusing; but, anyone who has seen the film has to remember the record collection moment. Our heroes did not wax nostalgic, but rather spun the hits their own way. And we all laughed. Hardly 30 seconds would pass before something else had me laughing. Zombie movies should not be this much fun, but “Shaun” is.
Romero Rules Followed: Every single one from the original trilogy is followed.
Gore factor: For a comedy about zombies, the gore factor is plenty, but not excessive, just enough to get red on you.
Zombies or Wannabees? Zombies
Classic, fine, or waste of time: 10 out of 10 classic
Additional comments: “Shaun” is one of the most quotable, enjoyable, unhinge-your-jaw laughing films you will ever see while watching zombies lumber about. It is a life-long ambition made to fruition by perfect comic timing, embracing of the source material, British influence, a solid cast; and I know too many people, whom I respect, who disregarded it as, “OK.”
You are forgiven, Mum. Liz has your flowers. I will be over later to kill Phillip. We’ll have a pint and wait for this all to blow over.