Horror comedy films about zombies are not easy to do – they are either over done or too predictable. Shaun of the Dead obviously has the advantage of being one of the first to have been made. But it also has great acting, witty dialogue, and sincerely good jokes. Pegg’s portrayal of a hopeless loser becoming the film’s unlikely hero centers around the premise of self-loathing, and yet manages to still be a protagonist that you will want to root for. And aside from the great acting, if you have seen a lot of other zombie movies, then you will certainly enjoy the many tributes and nods they give to other great horror films.
What is Shaun of the Dead?
This 2004 horror-comedy film is about the titular Shaun, who is a simple store employee with no bigger goals in life. The movie even opens with him getting dumped by his girlfriend for always preferring to frequent a local pub. The pace gets moving fast after establishing that Shaun is a bit of a ‘loser’, with him and his best friend Ed encountering a zombie in their back yard. Finally realizing that they are dealing with the undead (and not some bizarrely drunk folks as they initially thought), the two decide to seek out Shaun’s ex-girlfriend and his folks to ensure that they are safe.
The film then moves at a break neck speed with plenty of zombie attacks, funny story twists and of course, existential character dilemma. But of all these are peppered with Wright’s brand of sharp witty humor that it manages to progress smoothly instead of bumpily.
Big on Comedy
This is a fun film to watch –so this should probably be your relaxing break of a film in the middle of a horror marathon or as one of the last movies to view before winding down. The combat and chase sequences with the zombies are silly to watch, the way that the survivors are all trying to get inside pubs is silly, and watching the survivors deal with an apocalypse (like intentionally crashing their current escape vehicle as an excuse to ride a Jaguar) is nothing short of hilarious.
While it is funny, much the movie’s themes and visuals are not suitable for children. There’s as much hilarity as gore in the movie, and while the violence is often shown in a goofy manner, parents should still be forewarned. As a comedy horror film, the movie does not go into highly tense sequences as much as other more serious movies, but it does the zombie genre proud by showing them as a real threat. Character deaths are prevalent and there is an emphasis of each individual’s mortality. George Romero himself was quite approving of the film.
Laugh and Think
While it is easy to ride along with the movie’s hijinks and gags, it does bring up some pretty important concerns –particularly for its’ target audience. Shaun’s rinse and repeat lifestyle is one of stagnation and while he and his few friends do not mind it, those who truly care about him, are rightfully concerned. The irony is that despite the amount of growth that he has gained throughout the film seems to have been lessened at the epilogue, though it shows a bit of improvement.
Part of a Bigger Whole
As the opening film in the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy was never meant to be a set up for any upcoming films –Shaun of the Dead was filmed and written to be a standalone horror comedy movie about a guy who keep getting himself in to trouble and dealing with the fact that the zombie invasion has begun. Still, there is a lot to admire with the way Wright and Pegg were able to find the core elements of the film, connect it with Hot Fuzz, then top it up with The World’s End almost a full decade later. While none of the three films share a narrative continuity, they still form a cohesive filmmaking appeal.
While this movie is part of a larger collection, Shaun of the Dead cannot have a direct sequel however. This has been brought up by the filmmakers to fans. The main reason why the movie cannot have a continuation is due mostly to the fact that too many of the movie’s main characters are already dead. This also implies that the filmmakers consider the movie to be centering around the main character and his friends, and that a second Shaun with Shaun’s original circle woult simply not be the same.