Pop-Break kicks off Zombie Week with logan j. fowler taking a look back at Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s rom-zom-com …
When I first saw Shaun Of The Dead, I was either a junior or senior in college. I didn’t see it in theaters; rather, I was introduced to the film by a friend. I accepted an invitation for a large group viewing one night, and I honestly remember going into it with trepidation. I wasn’t really big into zombie films, and I felt like the comedy dished out by the British blokes would be lost on me.
However, when the movie was finished, my initial reaction was surprise. Shaun Of The Dead mocks the horror genre, but it is also a film in the same vein all its own. It takes the elements of a zombie flick and pokes a good a lot of fun at it, but retains the core emotion, gore, and factors that make a really good movie of its type.
The movie revolves around Shaun (Simon Pegg), a salesman who lives with his best friend, Ed (Nick Frost) and the uptight Pete (Peter Serafinowicz). Pete hates Ed because Ed is a slacker of the worst kind, even though Shaun does his best to protect his buddy. Shaun also has a lady love, Liz (Kate Ashfield), who is slowly slipping through his fingers as their romantic encounters always lead to the two to the Winchester, Ed and Shaun’s favorite pub. When Shaun promises Liz an anniversary date at a ritzy restaurant, he accidentally ends up forgetting to get a table via phone call reservation. Liz calls it quits with Shaun, leading our hero and his partner in crime Ed to drink heavily at the Winchester.
On their way home, Ed and Shaun encounter a zombie in the shadows indirectly, but believe he’s just a regular old fellow groaning. The two encounter their first real zombies in their garden, with their only weapons being records. Shaun breaks into the shed, allowing him and Ed to grab garden tools and sporting equipment for defense. As they dispose of the zombies, Shaun realizes that he and Ed must get to a safe location, picking up Liz, her flatmates, and Shaun’s mother (Penelope Wilton) in the process. Shaun’s mum has made it quite clear that her husband, Phillip (Bill Nighy) is not doing well, leading Shaun to believe his step father is a zombie. Ed and Shaun format a plan to dispose of Phillip, grab Liz and her pals, and get to a headquarters of sorts to protect themselves from the zombies. There’s only one real place that would be a smart destination to Shaun and Ed, a place all too familiar…
Shaun Of The Dead is a film that is chock full of laugh out loud moments, along with some real tense periods, not to mention a few emotional segments that feel like a punch to the gut. Director Edgar Wright (who wrote the film along with Pegg) brilliantly created a film that not only features pieces that would thrill any zombie lover, but contains romantic comedy elements to interweave with the buddy film counterpart created by Shaun and Ed.
The film is a satire, but completely embraces the genre it’s digging at, creating a film that is this generation’s version of Airplane!, the old Mel Brooks classics, or any of the Naked Gun films. The film never gets into –Movie territory (Disaster Movie, Epic Movie, Scary Movie, etc.) and from beginning to end you accept Shaun of the Dead as a zombie film that can stand right alongside classic horror cinema with the label “zombie” attached.
Shaun Of The Dead is a film I will watch every so often, but this year I plan to watch it on Halloween night, probably with a pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to make it the event more official. It has become a favorite film of mine, and helped launch Edgar Wright into “my favorite director” position, along with his TV program Spaced and his follow up films to this one. I know I probably already made the point clear, but to conclude, Shaun Of The Dead is an awesome film and a great watch for any night, as long as you’ve got a cornetto cone in hand and red on you (like a t-shirt).