Shaun of the Dead Movie Review
Earlier this year, the remake of Dawn of the Dead stunned audiences by being the best zombie movie in ages. Six months later, Shaun of the Dead can say the same thing. More of a comedy than a horror picture, the movie provides consistent laughs and some good zombie gore, making Shaun of the Dead one of the most entertaining movies this year.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost star as Shaun and Ed, two losers who spend most of their time doing nothing. Shaun mindlessly works at a home appliance store and Ed works on his video game scores. To make matters worse, Shaun thinks it is the end of the world when his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) dumps him - he has no idea what's in store. Soon, the world has been overrun by zombies and it is up to the two guys to take on the walking dead, while Shaun must also try to win back the affection of Liz.
Words can hardly describe how clever and funny Shaun of the Dead is. The entire cast is absolutely terrific, delivering stellar performances with great comic timing and likable personalities. More importantly, the movie is like a George A. Romero version of Office Space, taking serious stabs at monotonous, every day life while throwing in plenty of flesh-hungry creatures to spice things up a bit.
Hardly a minute goes by when there isn't something to laugh at, as Shaun and Ed play perfectly off of one another. Their first reaction to learning of the zombies is to simply go back in time and once they decide they need to fight the creatures, they begin to throw records at them - selectively choosing which albums to spare. The hilarity ensues as they race around town to save family and friends, but it is never too late to have tea or a beer.
On top of the comedy, Shaun of the Dead actually takes its zombies pretty seriously. The creatures are always funny since they're brain dead, but there are some good gory moments and one or two scary scenes. While the comedy never lets up, the film noticably becomes tenser as it nears it climax - the characters get trapped in a pub with no way out. The movie does not spoof zombie movies - it merely inject a romantic comedy into a zombie movie.
Now on DVD, "Shaun of the Dead" offers up plenty of special features, though only some are really worth it. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes features, including a look at casting tapes, video diaries and more. There are a lot of extended and deleted scenes, but they were cut out for a reason, and most disappointing is the long stretch of outtakes, which really aren't very funny. The funniest bits are the "Plot Holes" featurette which shows storyboards explaining what happened to a few characters and a re-dubbing of one scene for family audiences. All in all, there are lots of goodies for any "Shaun" fan to feast on. While not all of them hit the mark, some definitely make the film worth it. Of course, you were going to buy the DVD anyway because it's one of the best comedies to hit theaters in a long time.
If this review didn't convince you that you have to see this movie, I don't know what will, but Shaun of the Dead is a bloody good time. Funny and exciting, it is easily one of the more original films of the year and, come December, will still be one of the most entertaining of 2004.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.