In the late 90s a new style of English sitcom premiered on Channel 4 here in the UK. The show was called Spaced. It was a fast paced attempt at contempory television and it succeeded on all counts. Hilariously different and uniquely shot, Spaced, filled with its references and in-jokes to keep any movie buff in hogs heaven, hit cult status.
The show, written by Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, and directed by Edgar Wright, featured a very brief dream sequence whereby the hero Tim had been caught up in a zombie shoot-em-up. Clearly bought on by his constant love for playing his video games and most notably Resident Evil. And from this, Shaun of the Dead was born.
I had been excited about this project ever since I heard about it. I felt anything starring Simon and directed by Edgar would be fantastic. But a comedy about zombies premise - it just blew me away. I couldn't wait. But like so many movies before this I was afraid I may have too many expectations and end up being bitterly disappointed......not a chance!
Shaun of the Dead is quite frankly a superbly crafted little movie. It has a good script, a fast pace, an irreverant humour and superb acting. I was greatly impressed with Simons Pegg's performance. We all know he's one hell of a funny guy but here he shows how good an actor he really is. There are one or two scenes when the guy looks genuinely upset or angry. Its great. But the whole cast was excellent in my opinion. They all gave great naturalistic performances which is becomming very popular in British comedy of late (i.e The Office).
Like so many coming of age, zero to hero tales, this movie takes deals with underachievers. In this case its Shaun (played by Simon Pegg). Shaun is a below average thirty something who seems to have no real goal or ambition. Dumped by his girlfriend (Kate Ashfield) and bought down further by his loser pal Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun can't sink to any lower depths. But just as things seem bad the undead begin to walk the Earth. And now Shaun must rescue his family and the girl he loves.
The zombies, the blood, the gore. It all looks great. The humour is the same satirical humour that Spaced became known for and of course contains stacks of movie and pop culture references. There is in fact masses of zombie movie references which Im sure real buffs would enjoy picking out on numerous viewings. Its one of those TV to film transfers that just works. And I'm not saying that Shaun of the Dead is strictly a TV to film transfer but viewers of Spaced will understand. Spaced was always made with that extra cinematic quality and so adapting similar styles and techniques to the big screen seemed flawless.
Shaun of the Dead was a thoroughly enjoyable movie and whether you like zombie movies or not I fail to see how anyone couldn't enjoy this on some level. It does have its scary moments, in fact many of the scares seem overshadowed by the feeling of wanting to laugh out loud at it. It looks great and bloody hell what a fantastic soundtrack!!! So if romance and comedy...with er.., zombies and a little apocalypse thrown in is your bag then head for your local cinema now!
Shaun of the Dead is a gem. Not the greatest comedy of all time, not the best horror of all time. But most definitely up there as one of the greatest horror/comedies I've seen. And between you and me it was the funniest film I've seen in a long time and everyone in the cinema with me seemed to agree. In fact us Brits as you know aren't ones for whooping and cheering during a movie but here there was definite whoops, laughs, screams and applause! 'Who died and made this king of the zombie comedies?'