Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Starring: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Penelope Wilton, Bill Nighy
Directed by: Edgar Wright
Here’s the thing, I don’t watch horror movies. Just not interested in them. So, I don’t really watch zombie movies as a result. Moreover, I’m not really into British humour either. So when this British rom zom com came out a few years ago, I wasn’t that interested, despite all the raves I’d heard of it. I figured it was probably pretty good, but not really my thing.
But, last night, it came on Movie Central HD at the precise moment when I felt like doing nothing, but was too wired to sleep. I just wanted to vegetate, zombie-like in front of the television, so I guess this was perfect! (Although, I guess it would be more perfect if I called it the telly).
Well, it was more than the perfect movie for my mood at the time, it was a fun, clever, inventive movie that even I, non-zombie aficionado with no appreciation for the Monty Python-brand of humour could appreciate and enjoy. I was initially concerned that it would be too dry a humour, with its main characters Shaun (Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the script along with director Edgar Wright) and Ed (Nick Frost) mindlessly stumbling through the movie, without realising that they were dealing with a zombie infestation. That’s how the advertising made it look, which made me think it was a one-joke movie.
It is not. They mine a lot of humour from their concept (zombies rise up and attack London, leaving slacker Shaun to attempt to survive, while rescuing his mother and ex-girlfriend while trying to win her back), while grounding the movie as a slight commentary about our generation of listless slackers. Simon Pegg is winning in the lead role, bringing the right level of slacker listlessness without devolving into an unlikable oaf (instead, that role is reserved for Nick Frost’s Ed, who is probably a little too annoying to properly earn any redemptive moments). The humour is sometimes wacky, sometimes subtle, but almost always funny.
Surprisingly, for a comedy, it also manages to manufacture a good deal of excitement in the movie, and even a few chills. The movie doesn’t shy away from the more gruesome aspects of the zombie lifestyle, while maintaining a disbelieving air from which to deliver the laughs. In the end, they even manage a bit of pathos; quite the accomplishment considering the level of absurdity the movie deals in. The movie has a little bit of everything, from laughs, to romance, to adventure, to horror and back. And if I liked it, despite the fact that all my tastes suggested that I wouldn’t, I can’t imagine others won’t either.