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Shaun of the Dead (2004)

  Directed by: Edgar Wright
Written by: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Starring: Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran, Simon Pegg
Links: Shaun of the Dead on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Comedy

This movie gets: 7.50 (2 ratings)
nofreelist.com Ranking: Ranked equal 81st of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

"Fight zombies for a day and I will buy what is left of your morals for a dollar" - a review by timchuma

I know the storyline of this movie has been pretty well discussed already, so I'll just do a brief rundown of the characters before I talk about what I liked about this movie.

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is the character I most identified with, as he likes familiarity and going to the same places all the time. He is really stuck in a rut which makes his girlfriend break up with him as she doesn't see that he will ever change.

Ed (Nick Frost) would be familiar to anyone who has lived in a share accommodation with just blokes. He doesn't seem to want to do much with his life and is happy with his lot.

Liz (Kate Ashfield) has been very understanding with Shaun, but as I said she can't stand seeing him not wanting to move on. Her flatmates are also a strong influence on her decision to dump him.

Things are further complicated for Shaun as he doesn't get along with his stepfather and doesn't see his mum much.

While some people would want to fast-forward to the action in this movie, I don't recommend doing that as you will miss some of the best things about the movie. Even if this movie didn't have any zombies in it, it still would have been a great movie, as the characters and situations that lead up to the zombies are so strong.

While the story is set in the suburbs of London, it could be any city and some of the locations are similar to those near where I live. The Winchester Arms in the movie is almost exactly the same as the pub I would go to every day if I could. One of the reasons I went to see this movie is that the promoters left Shaun of the Dead beer coasters at the pub and I thought this movie looked interesting.

I was already familiar with the work of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg through the TV series Spaced so I had a lot of confidence that this movie would come off really well. From the TV show they have proved they know how to use their popular culture influences creatively and not make it seem like they are overdoing it, the same is true with this movie.

I also liked the character of David, played by Dylan Moran from the TV series Black Books, as he is the complete opposite to what you see in the show. Watch for a cameo from his co-star from that show also.

Another funny thing about the movie is that Shaun doesn't really like using the term ‘zombie’ as he thinks it is stupid. This helps reinforce the ‘what would you do?’ theme that runs through the movie as they have to come up with ways to fight the walking dead with whatever is at their disposal.

It was surprising how little blood and gore was shown during this movie (apart from the one character being eaten). Compared with movies such as Undead (2003) and the original George A. Romero zombie films, this movie is much less graphic in its depiction of violence (this may have more to do with the low budget though — zombie makeup is expensive).

I'll end with the following words of wisdom that I think most apply to this film: “Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air” (John Quincy Adams).

timchuma gives this movie 9 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 12 Jan 2005

"Warning: brief review ahead" - a review by pearly

Simon Pegg, or, as I know him, That Guy From Big Train, wrote and directed this comedy zombie movie. He stars as Shaun, an everyman going about his daily business. He lives with Ed (Nick Frost), a rather slovenly and offensive "lad" who is dragging down the otherwise fine Shaun with him. And on the day when Shaun's girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) decides it's all too much for her, and breaks it off with Shaun, the zombies arrive in town.

With Shaun of the Dead, I expected a pure comedy. I don't need a laugh a minute to enjoy a comedy movie, but I was expecting the film to be a lot funnier than it actually was. There are comedies, and then there are serious films with comedy moments, and Shaun of the Dead was treading the line, but kinda falling into the latter camp. For me, this was not a good thing. I am not a big fan of the zombie flick, so none of the killing of zombies part held any interest for me, and I was simply hoping that the comedy would make it an enjoyable romp. Too bad.

Shaun of the Dead isn't terrible. There are some funny bits (mostly provided by the Ed character), but there's too much of the serious stuff for my liking. I liked the spoof portions at the beginning where Shaun and Ed did not notice that the zombies had arrived, because everyone in their town was so zombie-like to begin with, the best. Get rid of the romance stuff, and make way for more laughs, say I.

pearly gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 10 Nov 2004

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 7.50
Lowest rating: 6 (by pearly)
Highest rating: 9 (by timchuma)
 
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