Cast: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton
Director: Edgar Wright
Writer: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
Rated: MA medium level violence, medium level coarse language
Running Time: 99 Minutes
A Romantic Comedy. With Zombies.
Shaun is in a rut. He's 29 and coasting through life, never threatening to fulfil his potential. As aspiring DJ, who long ago tucked his aspirations away with his record collection, Shaun works fulltime at a local electrical store, with a staff of youngsters, on their way to better things. He lives with the slobbish Ed, his best friend from junior school, and the ever-angry Pete, a lesser friend from college.
Shaun's girlfriend Liz, also 29, is an attractive and intelligent woman who is rapidly outgrowing Shaun's apathy. She is getting increasingly uneasy about the amount of time Shaun spends with Ed. Any intimacy they do manage to achieve socially is usually at The Winchester, a local pub, with Ed loitering nearby. Having grown tired of the triangle, Liz has taken to bringing along her two friends David and Di, the former a fastidious know-it-all, the latter a dizzy wannabe actress. Lastly there are Shaun's parents. Barbara is a caring, doting mother, whom Shaun adores. Unfortunately, twelve years ago, Barbara married Shaun's stepfather, Philip. An eternally stern, seemingly loveless man, who Shaun has never quite seen eye to eye with. Consequently, Shaun's family life is a complicated one.
We join Shaun on a Friday night in the pub with Liz and Ed and David and Di, trying to have a relationship conversation with his patient girlfriend. The resolution of this is a promise that Shaun will change for the better and to prove it, he will take Liz to a renowned fish restaurant the next night and give her the third anniversary meal they never had.
But fate has other plans in store for Shaun and over the next two days he learns three important lessons about life. Firstly, that it is not that simple. Secondly, that it is precious. And lastly that for many this weekend, life is not necessarily the end.
A zombie movie with an injection of humour has been long overdue, and 'Shaun Of The Dead' really hits the spot. So often, zombie movies end up being slash fests and not much else and you leave the cinema with having seen lots of blood and gore with the protagonist usually winning by some method, which can become rather ho hum. With 'Shaun Of The Dead' there is another story happening as well as Shaun tries to reconcile his life, with himself and with his girlfriend. This is where the story starts, and it is not until later that the zombies really start to get in on the action.
Simon Pegg is such a lovable rogue as Shaun. He is so innocent, yet you know that there is a deeper intelligence in there somewhere. He has had a romance for three years with Liz, (Kate Ashfield), who also knows of this deeper intelligence but is sick of waiting for it to emerge. So she gives him the ultimatum. When the zombie numbers start to increase, Shaun can't but help the desire to try and save Liz as well, who by now has said goodbye to Shaun. Ed, Shaun's layabout flatmate, tags along for the ride, as does a rescue mission to save Shaun's mother as well. Then it's off to Liz's and they collect Liz's flatmates, David and Di as well, and that makes the core group that will account for much of the screen time, fending off zombies.
As in most zombie movies, the zombies have a particular way about them - slow, clumsy and self-replicating and this movie saw 800 zombie extras complete the filming, although some locals did complain about the effect on their children of seeing ghoulish zombies in the streets as filming took place around residential areas of London.
Overall, 'Shaun Of The Dead' takes a fun twist to the classic zombie movie, which was welcome and inspiring. The comedy was not overdone, and neither were the gory scenes, creating an even blend of comedy and horror, which is rarely seen.
Rating : B-