Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Review by Carson Hearne

Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

MPAA Rating: R for zombie violence/gore and language

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Directed by: Edgar Wright

Written by: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Penelope Wilton, and Bill Nighy

The biggest problem about loving a film as a child is that you gain a biased opinion about that film throughout the years. For example, two of my favorite childhood films were Baby Geniuses 2 and The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (both of which are far from desirable on recent re-watches). I brought a subtle fear to the table when I sat down to watch Shaun of the Dead of “maybe this film isn’t as good as I remember it being”. All I can say is the second i pressed play and heard the opening sounds, all my fears drifted away as I slowly became engulfed with enjoyment.

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Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a simple man who spends most nights at a local pub, named The Winchester, with his best friend Ed (Nick Frost). Shaun is very neglectful of his girlfriend (Kate Ashfield) and after failing to take her out on an adequate date, he gets dumped. While recovering, Shaun begins to realize that something odd is happening. The news keeps talking about some sort of virus, people keep getting bit by lunatics, and there’s a random lady standing in his backyard. It’s up to Ed and Shaun to figure out what the hell is going on and make (multiple unsuccessful) a plan(s) to save the day.

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I’m going to start off by saying that this is one of the most brilliantly hilarious horror comedies that I’ve ever seen. Made way before Zombieland and a million other zombie comedies, Shaun of the Dead was a great, original idea for the time that it came out. I haven’t seen a film keep me so entertained for the entirety of the running time in years. That’s the biggest thing I can say about this film, it is overwhelmingly entertaining. This film isn’t all laugh and gore either (which is all I was expecting from this film); Shaun of the Dead holds some truly terrifying sequences that I remember giving me nightmares as a child and even has a couple heartfelt scenes.

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The writing is outstanding, Pegg and Wright had to have spent an extensive amount of time writing this film for it to be the thoroughly intriguing film that it is. The climax of this film gave me a rush of utter excitement, watching the characters you’ve come to love beating the shit out of zombies to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now was a satisfying experience. The ending of the film is also one of the most memorable parts of the whole film and has stuck with me throughout the years. There is not a single character in Shaun of the Dead that feels out of place or isn’t developed well. Everything about this film just makes complete sense.

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To nit pick this film would just be an injustice to the brilliance that was put into every aspect of this film. The far fetched ideas in the story work and only add to the movie’s charm. The complete obliviousness to the havoc that these people are being surrounded in makes for some really interesting scenes. The social commentary also adds so much to the film, just as much as social commentary in Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. It’s even more accurate today, everybody walks around like zombies, having no real social interaction with each other. Also, the sound design and the quick edit transitions give the film some extra flare and gives it a unique style.

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I feel that Shaun of the Dead doesn’t get the appreciation it truly deserves, being slightly overshadowed by it’s sequels. I can see Shaun of the Dead gaining a huge cult following ten years from now, and it would be well deserved. Shaun of the Dead is worth all of your time, money, and effort. Shaun of the Dead is highly recommended by both child and adult Carson.

Grade: A+

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