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Shaun of the Dead

Year of Release: 2004
Theatrical Release Date:

Director: Edgar Wright
Writing Credits:
Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Run Time:
99 min
Studio: Info coming soon

Cast: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Nicola Cunningham, Keir Mills, Matt Jaynes, Gavin Ferguson

More Info: Visit Official Site

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Summary: Thirty-something slacker Shaun (Simon Pegg) has no clue what to do with his life or with his relationship with girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield). But when the unthinkable happens and zombies begin to roam the streets of London terrorizing residents, including his beloved and his mother, Shaun realizes he must act quickly to save Liz from danger and keep their relationship from spiraling out of his hands forever. But is it too late for heroics?

Reviewer Film Ratings:
Plot: 4 | Fun Factor: 4 | Gore: 3.5 | Nudity: 1.5 | Scare Factor: 2 | Overall: 4/5

The British Add Something New to the Zombie Genre
Reviewed by Gavin Schmitt

A man (Simon Pegg) decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend (Kate Ashfield), reconciling his relationship with his mother (Penelope Wilton), and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

What makes this film atypical of most horror films is that it is not a horror film at all, but a romantic comedy... only it is a romantic comedy filled with zombies and head-crushing action. We follow Shaun, who fights to win his girlfriend Liz back... fights zombies, that is.

The humor is distinctly British, and some of the humor relies on a familiarity with the show "Spaced", which is probably not well known to the general audience. Much of the jokes are also obscure references to other horror films. But most of the humor is universal, as we all probably know what it is like to have a bad day, have a bad job, and have things go wrong with a great woman (or man, as the case may be). And all too many of us know what it is like to live with a deadbeat roommate.

The zombie effects are pretty decent, though not as gory as in many films. The humor outweighs the scary obviously. The scenery is great, and many of the scenes are so derivative of "Dawn of the Dead" that it is hard not to like this film. (Some scenes, some music and even some dialog is lifted directly from Romero... such as news broadcasts and the classic "We're coming to get you, Barbara.") I enjoyed the multiple times a character was told not to call the zombies "zombies"... because it calls to mind the great difference between horror movie characters and horror movie viewers. (Horror movie viewers know Romero made zombie films, but the word "zombie" is not used in those films... even the "Dawn" remake never once calls them "zombies".)

I do not know if I would make this a must-see movie, but it is one of those films that everyone has seen, so you probably would not be a true horror fan unless you have seen it, too. And the way it went on to influence zombie films and zombie comedies over the next decade is incredible, culminating in the nearly-as-good "Cockneys Vs. Zombies", that any "Shaun" fan should be sure to see. Stephen King proclaimed it was "destined to be a cult classic." He was right.

Reviewer Film Ratings:
Plot: 4 | Fun Factor: 4 | Gore: 3.5 | Nudity: 1 | Scare Factor: 2.5 | Overall: 4/5

Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together...BEAUTY AND BRAINS!!!
Reviewed by Katanasting

Remember that old SNL skit about the product that was both a "floor wax AND a dessert topping?" Well, SHAUN OF THE DEAD is exactly like that, but different, knowwhutahmean? It`s a chick flick AND a zombie movie rolled up into one!

No, actually that`s oversimplifying it. There`s also a buddy comedy, a nerd/slacker/loser-becomes-hero flick, a George Romero homage...well, it`s everything! Which is amazing, because most movies that want to be all things to all people usually turn to shit pretty fast. But that`s if you don`t know what the hell you`re doing.

Obviously, director Edgar Wright and his partner in crime, co-writer/star Simon Pegg DO know exactly what they`re doing. I have never heard of either one of these guys before this, but I`ll tell you what - you can sell me front-row seats to their next movie RIGHT FRICKIN` NOW! That`s how bloody brilliant these lads are!

Simon stars as Shaun, a ne`er-do-well who has his simple little life and loves it...working as a clerk at an electronics store, then spending almost every other waking moment "with the lads down at the local pub", knocking back a pint or two. He hangs mostly with his best mate, Ed, (a truly hysterical turn by Nick Frost) while he`s there, and at the flat they share.

Okay, so it ain`t `Lifestyles Of The Rich and Famous`, but who couldn`t relate to Shaun`s life? Well, his girlfriend Liz for one, (played by Kate Ashfield). Liz, like many women who love their guys, has been hoping against hope that her Cute Slacker Boyfriend will realize the potential she hopes he has, and become Cute Successful Possible Husband Material. And of course, Shaun`s not `getting it`. So she decides to send him a message: shape up, sailor, or I`m shipping out.

So the befuddled Shaun has to figure out a way to keep his girl and still keep his pub-crawling life intact with his mates. And with all this drama going on in his life, when WOULD a guy have time to notice - as Michael Stipe so aptly put it - "the end of the world as we know it?"

Well, you have to make time once it becomes more than just a piddling nuisance, and soon Shaun, Ed, Liz and all their friends can`t ignore the fact that their own friends and neighbors have become zombies...and I don`t mean just in the cultural or sociological sense. I mean, limb-rippin`, gut-munchin` Romero-ready slabs of bipedal putrescence. (RRRolls off the tongue, doesn`t it?)

First of all, the writing is just so solid, it turns me green with envy. This is not the very first time that horror and comedy have been blended into a zombie flick, (see RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD), but to sprinkle in the cliches that go with a relationship dramedy as well? BRILLIANT. Not to mention with that `veddy, veddy British` sensibility combined with utter silliness that was Monty Python`s trademark, but now has been co-opted by everyone else as well, (thankfully, mostly by people like Wright and Pegg who know what to do with it.)

Plus these guys are definite Romero fans, and the rest of us FOG`s (Friends of George, and no, not the OTHER one) have to giggle with appreciation at all the little details that they get right, up to a hilarious sequence you have to see to believe, when Shaun takes a stroll down the street for a pack of smokes and some `crisps`, and doesn`t even notice that his block has become Mr. Undead`s Neighborhood.

But more than the horror or the comedy, the fact that they give us characters we can care about and root for makes SHAUN all the more gripping, especially in the third act when there`s a shift in tone more to horror and less to comedy (but it`s still in there, believe me!)

The ending is bizarre and funny to say the least, but not unexpected when you consider that these nutcases made it! A shout-out to the entire talented supporting cast as well, especially to genre favorite Bill Nighy, who has a funny and touching cameo as Shaun`s disapproving dad.

I never thought I`d say this, but if you want to get your girlfriend/wife/significant other to watch a horror film, or if you girls want to get your guy to watch a `relationship` movie that won`t put him in a coma, you can always do worse than this!

Reviewer Film Ratings:
Plot: 2.5 | Fun Factor: 4 | Gore: 2.5 | Nudity: 1 | Scare Factor: 2 | Overall: 4/5

A great mixture of comedy and horror. It`s actually very funny.
Reviewed by Butcher

Peter Jackson says Shaun of the dead is, “One of the most entertaining films of the year” and I would have to agree. I wouldn’t say that I absolutely fell in love with Shaun of the Dead, but it’s definitely entertaining and a must see.

Shaun of the Dead is actually a very funny film. I think somewhere on the DVD cover box it reads, “It’s time to get off the couch and kill some zombies.” That is such a great tagline because firstly, it is funny and secondly, that’s exactly what they do. We find out early on in the movie that our two main characters are major losers and within the first twenty minutes alone we see example after example that demonstrates their lack of brain cells. At one point in the film, one of the characters breaks down, saying how he messed everything up and people are dead because of him and he’s right. It’s very realistic because two couch potato heroes probably wouldn’t do everything right as they try to save the day. For me, that was the funniest part of the film. Furthermore, the references to the George Romero films were awesome too, especially the Day of the Dead reference.

Shaun, played by Simon Pegg, was the co-writer of the film and also does a great job as the leading man due in part to the fact that his comedic timing really helps set the tone of the film. His sidekick Ed, played by Nick Frost, is pretty much there just to screw up Shaun’s life and make the audience laugh. You can just tell Nick is a really funny guy in real life because not only are his lines awesome but he delivers them perfectly. By the way, am I the only one who thought cast member Dylan Moran was Harry Potter?

So the film continues as we laugh and see our heroes fight zombies. Then we get to the final thirty minutes - the third act. This is where I didn’t care for the film as much. For me, the tone seemed to change completely. I felt that all the characters got extremely serious and the jokes had gone out the window. The acting and dialogue were fine but I didn’t feel like I was watching a comedy anymore. In fact, that’s pretty much the only gripe I had with Shaun of the Dead. Maybe after a second viewing I will be more comfortable with the change.

Overall, Shaun of the Dead is a very creative and funny ride. The script is great, the actors are great and the zombies are great. It’s a very nice way to spend 99 minutes. Even if you’re not a horror fan, you will enjoy Shaun of the Dead. The humor is a little offbeat but I think that most people will find it funny. I know that I will watch Shaun of the Dead a few more times.

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