Shaun of the Dead

'Hey guys! Each month my friend Joe will be doing a review on my blog as he is a huge film fan and he wants to try out blogging but wasn't quite ready do create his own blog. So we came up with the idea that he would try it out by posting one a month on mine and see where he goes from there. So enjoy the first review from Joe on my blog!'

Shaun of the Dead is the first big screen collaboration between ‘Spaced’ creators Simon Peg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright, and it provides an immensely funny but also surprisingly heartfelt take on the niche ‘Zom-com’ genre.

Set in suburban London, un-motivated, underachieving slacker Shaun (Peg) and his even less functional housemate Ed (Frost) are forced to step up when a crisis strikes their otherwise mundane lives. Overnight their world goes from being simply lifeless, to literally undead. What is most striking about the zombie epidemic depicted in Shaun of the Dead is that not that much has changed (apart from the obvious life threatening situation Shaun and Ed now face). This is amusingly illustrated by Wright who shows the early signs of the oncoming zombie infestation being shrugged off as normal occurrences by London’s apathetic citizens. Shaun’s priorities also change very little in the face of grave danger as he embarks on a mission to recuse his mum and his (recent) ex-girlfriend, who he also wishes to win back with his heroics, and find sanctuary, for which he naturally picks his local pub. Shaun of the Dead finds plenty of humour in the duo’s everyday reaction to their world being turned upside down.

As a comedy Shaun of the Dead is razor sharp. The script revels in mixing the petty and mundane with the extraordinary. Shaun and Ed argue about which of Shaun’s records are allowed to be used as weapons (the batman soundtrack is ok but Shaun’s guilty pleasure Second Coming is saved from become a projectile), the pair argue about whether their recently zombiefied housemate would be ok with them borrowing his car, Shaun’s group of survivors make awkward introductions and small talk with another group led by Shaun’s old friend. Peg and Frost are impeccable as the films two hapless protagonists but it’s Edgar Wright’s pitch perfect direction that steals the show. Visual comedy is as prevalent as the humour in the dialogue, foreshadowing used to great and hilarious effect and the fast paced and energetic camera work gives the film a unique style. The films soundtrack is woven into the events skilfully and adds further depth to the visual humour as the groans of the undead replace the words ‘base’ and ‘free’ in Ed and Shaun’s impromptu rendition of Grandmaster Flash’s ‘White Lines’ and the gangs attempts to beat a zombie to death using pool cues perfectly syncs up with the beat to Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. The cast are also on top form. Peg shines as Shaun, a character who is initially so exasperatingly lethargic and unambitious that everyone from his girlfriend to his parents has all but given up on him as he sleepwalks through life. However when everything hits the fan he is able to spring to life, taking control of the situation as if the potential death of himself and everyone he loves was just the push he needed to get him going. Peg demonstrates an impressive range, fluctuating from a frustrating, to hilarious, to heartfelt performance with ease. Frost does well as Shaun’s friend and primary enabler and his ‘who cares’ attitude in response to the end of life as he knows it leads to a fantastic variety of comedic gold. The supporting cast add an extra layer to the film, from Shaun’s worn down girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) to her pompous friend (Dylan Moran) who’s pretty obvious crush on her fuels Shaun’s dislike of him. Throughout the film the cast supply a steady stream of petty bickering which, whilst adding the humour, also makes them feel like real people thrust into a series of events they cannot fully comprehend.

However Shaun of the Dead falls just short of perfect as the tone of the film has a tendency to swing violently from irreverent and funny, to heavy and emotional all too quickly. This shift, especially in the last act of the film, has a jarring effect as laughs are cut short by darker events and some pretty extreme and cartoonish violence.

Overall Shaun of the Dead is one of the funniest films in recent memory, with a take on two oversaturated genres that makes it feel fresh, whilst also being incredibly funny. The humour peppered through is effortless and as a comedy the film is practically flawless. The film only suffers when it attempts to head into more dramatic territory, however as an overall package Shaun of the Dead is more than deserving of its classic status.

'If you guys have enjoyed this post then please comment what you thought as it'll sure give him a lot more confidence and it's always great to hear peoples feed back!'


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