My Favorite Movies – Shaun of the Dead (2004)

26 Apr

By Tanner Smith

“Shaun of the Dead” is a great film because it works wonderfully as both a zombie-movie and a satire of a zombie-movie. The zombies still pose a threat, there’s still a lot of the zombie-movie survival conventions, and there’s still a lot of bloody action–the twist is that it’s all happening to a couple of slackers who don’t even realize there’s a zombie attack until it affects their daily routines.

Shaun (Simon Pegg) has no direction in his life, and his buddy Ed (Nick Frost) is even less ambitious. These jokers wouldn’t know a zombie if she popped up in their backyard…hey, is that a zombie girl in their garden? Anyway, they become more wary of the mayhem that’s happening in town, and they race to find shelter with Shaun’s mother (Penelope Wilton), Shaun’s ex Liz (Kate Ashfield), and Liz’s flatmates Dianne (Lucy Davis) and David (Dylan Moran). Their plan is to “wait for all this to blow over”…but it’s not as simple as that.

And as funny as “Shaun of the Dead” is (and it’s VERY funny), it also tackles the hardships of surviving such an experience, such as the harsh sacrifices that have to be made.

But even with that in mind, it is fairly consistent in how funny it is. It’s not camp nor is it unintentionally laughable; it’s just funny. Much of that has to do with some of the best timing I’ve ever seen in any comedy. (Actually, something writer-director Edgar Wright is known for is quick comic timing in all of his movies.) And it has fun with the premise of a zombie invasion, while paying heartfelt homage to George Romero zombie flicks.

It’s also a film with a cautionary message about getting too used to routine. Shaun would’ve stayed ignorant in his cycle if the dead didn’t walk the earth. The zombies are essentially representative of those who are so desensitized to life that they have nothing more to do in life (or…death).

Among the comedic highlights in the movie include Shaun and Ed’s first encounter with the zombies, the group pretending to be zombies to be unnoticed, and the jukebox bar brawl. Though, I do have to ask…why did they bring out their LP collection and throw some at the zombies? I know they’re not the sharpest tools in the shed, but…they didn’t really think that was going to work, did they?

But whatever, it’s still funny to hear their tastes in music–what album would YOU get rid of during apocalyptic times?

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