It’s one very funny movie that can make you laugh out loud even after the umpteenth viewing, and Shaun of the Dead is a very funny movie indeeed. Starring Simon Pegg as the luckless Shaun, who needs to win back his girlfriend, fix up his relationship with his mother and stepdad, and deal with the living dead who keep getting in the way, it’s also possibly the sharpest zombie movie ever made.
From the opening shots, which remind us that most of us are zombies anyway as we go about our boring daily routines, to the scenes where Shaun does his errands, oblivious to the living dead all around him – after all, what has changed really? – this is pretty much how the Zombie Apocalypse would go down. Hardly anyone would even notice at first, until the living dead started chomping publicly on brains and intestines – and even then, we might think it’s a publicity stunt.
Simon Pegg and his mate Nick Frost are in their element here, with the kind of quirky British humor they excel at, and a minimum of sentimentality. Unlike their latest offering, Paul, which by the end has sunk so deeply into saccharine sentimentality that the character of the alien isn’t even recognisable any more, this movie stays on the sharp edge. So while Shaun and his stepdad (hilariously funny Bill Nighy) do finally make their peace with each other, the follow up has us on the floor laughing again.
Shaun, and his mate Ed, are a classic pair of losers. Ed has never really grown up, and Shaun just barely made it to adulthood – well, he has a job and a place of his own, and a gorgeous girlfriend, Liz. But her friends don’t like his friend (Ed) and she is fed up with spending all their dates in the Winchester Pub. By the time the Zombie Apocalypse strikes, which it does in the background with snatches of news broadcasts and odd incidents on the street, Shaun needs to get his life back together.
But first he needs to fight zombies and get all his loved ones to safety in the Winchester. While sentimentality is kept to a minimum, in between the laughs there are some genuinely moving moments, such as Shaun’s relationship with his his mum, and his protective friendship with Ed – which goes way above and beyond the call of mateship. There are many gloriously witty and sharp observations, such as a woman on a talk show who won’t give up her zombie husband because ‘she loves him’, and the housemate who is an even bigger snot as a zombie than before.
In short, Shaun of the Dead is just the most awesome zombie movie ever.
I paid to see this movie with my own funds.