Shaun of the Dead


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"You might think to yourself that someone being bitten, clawed, and ripped limb from limb might not be the makings of good comedy...but you'd be dead wrong!  ."

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Shaun of the Dead
The Masked Reviewer

Wow.  The Masked Reviewer has seen the future of British zombie horror-comedies, and it is Shaun of the Dead.

It's been too long since American audiences have been treated to a great zombie movie.  Not including Resident Evil: Apocalypse, it's been about a year since the remake of Dawn of the Dead was in theaters.  That, in a word, was "zombierrific."  And now, the bar has been raised.

The Masked Reviewer is a connoisseur of the horredy genre.  Part horror, part comedy.  Inspired by such greats as the Evil Dead series by Spiderman's Sam Rami and Dead Alive by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, Shaun of the Dead looks to be the next great cult hit.  It's got it all: violence, side-splitting laughs, and British accents.  What more do you want?  Well? 

Check out this list of the Masked Reviewer's great Halloween horror flicks (from 2003).  Shaun of the Dead has been added to the list.  English television writer (or as they say over there, "telly scribe") Edgar Wright has gotten this movie.  Co-written with the film's titular star, played by Simon Pegg (who pegged it!), the film...was...excellently written.  This is one of those sentences that probably should have been thought out better before it was written.  Let's start over: we'll leave it as is for those of you who appreciate the editorial process.

The film was co-written by Edgar Wright (no relation to Wilbur) and Simon Pegg (no relation to Kathleen Turner's character in Peggy Sue Got Married).  Edgar Wright also directed the movie. 

Nick Frost co-stars with Simon Pegg.  Together, they form the ultimate British slacker zombie-fighting team.  There are a number of other characters, all played by relatively unknown actors (at least, they're unknown unless you're big on BBC television.)  The big name star of the film is Bill Nighy, who recently had big roles in Love, Actually and Underworld.  He's also in the upcoming Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, starring as Slartibartfast.

So, what's the movie about?  Zombies!  That's all you need to know.  That, and it's tongue in cheek.  It's not a parody of zombie flicks; it follows in the tradition of the great ones.  It is similar in many ways to Dawn of the Dead by George Romero; the different take is that it's much more lighthearted (for the most part, that is.)  Shaun of the Dead does mix in some heavy moments which may seem out of place, but they're pulled off convincingly and set an interesting tone: it never becomes too silly, there's a sense of growing dread which makes the funny scenes even funnier. 

You might think to yourself that someone being bitten, clawed, and ripped limb from limb might not be the makings of good comedy...but you'd be dead wrong! 

The humor is very British, and in keeping with the Masked Reviewer's strict "no spoiler" policy, no lines will be given away here.  But there are some good ones.  It's situational humor at its best.  And, British humor extends beyond Benny Hill and Monty Python, for those of you who think you've got it all figured out.  The movie is a bit like The Full Monty at times, especially when all the zombies have to strip at a local club to raise money for...oh wait, that didn't happen.  But maybe in the sequel.

If you love Night of the Living Dead and other zombie classics, you'll want to check out Shaun of the Dead.  If you love Evil Dead, Dead Alive, or British humor, you'll want to check out Shaun of the Dead.  If you can't stand any sort of gruesomeness, even though that's not the focus of the movie, you might not get into it.  It's a shame, though, because there are some terrific moments that make this movie one of the most fun of the year.  It's good times for everyone (except the zombies.)


Expectation from the Title: Shaun Finkelstein decided it was time to get the band back together, and after he rounded up Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia, and others, they hit the road!

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  The nice boys in the movie seem very pleasant, especially compared to those awful zombies.

The Pros: Brilliantly funny, entertaining all the way through, some nice effects and a rock solid zombie movie.

The Cons: Some of the heavy emotional moments seem a bit out of place at first, but they do provide balance that makes for a better film. 

If you're looking for Shawn of the Dead, Sean of the Dead, or information on Simon Peg, you're in the right place but you spelled it wrong.  See above.


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