Directed By: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield
Tag line: "This September, aim for the head"
Trivia: Because of the similarity of their titles, distributors were forced to hold this film back until two weeks after the Dawn of the Dead remake was released in the UK
In most zombie films, the media is usually right on top of the situation, transmitting images of the walking dead to a shocked and horrified public almost as quickly as they happen. With Shaun of the Dead, writer / director Edgar Wright answers a question I always asked myself as I watched those other movies: what about those poor devils who never watch the evening news?
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is having a really bad day. For starters, his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield), just dumped him, saying she's fed up spending night after night at the local pub with him and his obnoxious best friend, Ed (Nick Frost). Then, Shaun remembers he promised to pay his mother (Penelope Wilton) a visit, despite the fact he can't stand being in the same room as her second husband, Philip (Bill Nighy). As if all this weren't bad enough, the dead have risen from their graves, and are feasting on the flesh of the living. Along with everything else, Shaun must now devise a plan to save both Liz and his beloved mother from the sudden onslaught of bloodthirsty zombies.
Talk about a full plate!
Besides being ignorant of current events, Shaun isn't very observant in general, and fails to notice time and again that all hell has broken loose around him. In one of the film's cleverest sequences, we follow Shaun as he walks to the corner store early one morning to pick up a soda. Now, we made this exact same trip with our hero the previous day, when the most hazardous obstacle he encountered was a flying soccer ball. This time, however, the journey is a tad more perilous. Aside from the blood splattered everywhere, we notice car windows have been shattered, front doors broken down, and those who are out walking the streets are doing so much more methodically than they had 24 hours earlier. We see this...but Shaun doesn't. When he finally arrives at his destination, he strolls over to the refrigerated section, grabs his usual drink, and lays his money on the counter, oblivious to the body parts strewn around him. He then shuffles out the door and heads for home, always one incredibly lucky step ahead of the slow-moving zombies.
A funny story that never shies away from the bloodshed, Shaun of the Dead strikes the perfect balance between horror and comedy, bringing them together in a way that will undoubtedly satisfy fans of both genres.