Wednesday Movie Night: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

I would say that the Cornetto trilogy are great comedies, but they take an acquired taste. For one the humor is definitely more well written and intelligent, and you may need a vast knowledge of an over array of things to get some it. If you’re a zombie fan and watching a zombie spoof film then you probably will though. What makes the three movies that spoof popular genres so well done is that while they may be having a joke at the expense of the genre they make the characters though real enough that it seems they are really living through the horror of whatever it is they are placed in.

Summary: Shaun is thrown into a disaster of situations when he finds his relationship with his girlfriend has failed, his relationship with his mother strained, and the entire community he lives in seeming to be coming back from the dead. Instead of just sitting it out though he decides he is going to try putting everything back together by getting his friends, ex-girlfriend, and mother back to safety in the hopes it will patch up relationships. There is only one safe haven he knows though, and that is the local pub he frequents.

Acting: Simon Pegg leads as Shaun, and while I’ve seen him in a few other things this was my first time seeing him in a lead role. I think while the guy usually has the same look he does add a different spin to each character that works and seeing how he was able to transform from Shaun to Gary in the recent The World’s End he shows he has range and can work comedy from a variety of ways. Nick Frost is Ed, Shaun’s Friend. I like how these guys veer on slacker like personalities but you still feel like you like them despite the non-serious aspect of their characters. Kate Ashfield, is the girlfriend, Liz. I thought she mixed in well with the dynamics. You also have Bill Nighy involved with the movie for some hilarious bits as Philip.

Filming: The movie looks to be the lowest budget of the three, but one of the most popular and higher rated ones. Somehow just the way the devastating nature of what is happening with the zombies is taken seriously enough to give the comedy some room to work in the elements. I think the comedy is just really unique because it is silly, but isn’t forcing it to the point to where the story itself feels silly. It’s like a very serious thing is happening, and just some goofy people got involved with it and now instead of following the cooler crowd handling it, we are instead seeing how a different crowd might. Edgar Wright stills seems to be honing his own style in this one though.

Plot: The plot does weave in some message about human society, but it never gets too in your face to shove it down your throat, but makes a subtle point about how humanity doesn’t look too different from the dead before they get there. I think someone could watch this without a huge grasp on zombie films, but your comedic finding will be much greater if you are a fan of the genre. I think it’s more so for those who love the genre than don’t, because while laughing at it it is more so laughing at the people involved.

Shaun of the Dead is good for many reasons. It’s comedy that relies on some spoof of the zombie genre, and it has characters that you like but also have a certain comedic presence. It doesn’t rely on tons of sexuality or crudeness to get the laughs, so the movie feels well written and more intelligent than many of the comedies out there.

Rating 8 of 10.

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