Shaun Of The Dead – movie review

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Two buddies trying to never grow up, share a flat (yes it is British) and somehow ineptly survive a newly infected zombie world with a surprising ending.

Simon Pegg, co-author and star,  notes, we didn’t want to make a comedy zombie movie, we wanted to make a zombie movie and comedy movie at the same time.  Whether he succeeded, of even if that’s possible, is left up to you to decide.  The end result, however, is a movie worth watching for anyone who knows what a zombie is.

The first part of the movie explores the rather plain somewhat boring life of Shaun (Simon Pegg), his buddy Ed (Nick Frost),  Shaun’s girlfriend, and their mutual friends.  The highlight of their daily existence is the regular trip to the Winchester Pub for a pint or two where Ed supplies the crude comic moments to the audience in his stoner-like way.  Shaun is torn between wanting to be like his buddy and the realities of life, especially his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield).  Shaun’s predicament leads to some additional laughs as he gets himself in mild trouble at work, with his parents and with his girlfriend.  After all, guys were designed to play video games.  Right?  The humour is in classic British tradition as well as the dialect.  If you’re from this side of the pond, don’t be too proud to turn on the subtitles.

After the inevitable breakup with Liz and the required all nighter by the guys, Shaun and Ed wake up to the zombie infested world.  With the hangovers adding to their normal simplistic view of the world, it takes both several funny minutes before they realize the neighbors around them aren’t what they used to be.  Thus start the various experiments in how best to kill zombies with a variety of kitchen and yard tools, from vinyl records (remember Odd Job in Bond’s Goldfinger) to shovels and cricket bats.

Surprisingly they survive these first encounters (British zombies have to be some of the world’s slowest).  On they go in their misadventures to rescue Liz, Shaun’s parents, and their friends, finally ending back  in, you guessed it, the Winchester Pub.  There the flaming action (fueled by high-test liquor) continues as the family and friends finally succumb to the overwhelming zombie numbers, and the continuing ineptitude of all involved.

Because there cannot be a sequel if the stars don’t survive, the surprise ending kicks in leaving Shaun and Liz to survive and thrive in a renewed normal suburbia.  Well, almost normal. Shaun of the Dead, definitely worth a rental or purchase.

Other movies with similar humor that might be worth a rental or purchase are:

Zombieland – equal or better than Shaun but with an American twist

Eating Raoul – not a zombie movie per se, but funny in a similar vein

Motel Hell – again not about zombies, but still funny, especially if you’re into farming

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