Friday, October 7, 2016

31 Days of Horror: SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004)

Welcome horror fans, to Day 7 of the 31 DAYS OF HORROR! We are back with another film in our lead up to Halloween, and today we will be reviewing a romantic comedy...with zombies. It's SHAUN OF THE DEAD.

Howdy fellow film freaks, Robert here. Following their success on the British sitcom Spaced, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg collaborated on Shaun of the Dead, a film that is both a send-up of and a love letter to the zombie subgenre of horror movies. All-time loser Shaun (Pegg) has been drifting aimlessly through life until a zombie outbreak in London forces him to take stock of his situation and take charge of his life. Suddenly Shaun must work out what's really important to him, keep his friends alive during the zombie apocalypse, and most importantly, win back the love of his recently ex-girlfriend Liz. It's going to be a funny sort of day.

Shaun of the Dead is a very funny movie that still manages to deliver some scares even after repeated viewings. And you'll need those repeated viewings to catch all the references to other zombie movies, references that go far beyond George Romero and Night of the Living Dead. The only thing I can compare this movie to, in terms of just how many references are made through the course of the story, is "Meet the Beat-Alls", that episode of the Powerpuff Girls that had all the Beatles references. Prepare to have your knowledge of zombie movies tested if you plan to try and spot them all.

The story of Shaun of the Dead is impressive also for its clever use of foreshadowing. Nearly everything in the movie's first act, before the zombies start to appear, is a prediction of things that will happen in the story later. Every person you see during the opening sequence becomes a zombie that Shaun and his friends will encounter later. Ed's plans for how he and Shaun should spend their Sunday is a checklist of the horrors the two will encounter as they make their way to a place of safety after the outbreak. There are so many references, inside jokes and foreshadowings in this movie that the DVD edition includes a popup trivia track to point them all out.

Finally, don't let the fact that Shaun is a romantic comedy fool you. This is not a "chick-flick" by any stretch, even though it has the standard rom-com plot of a guy trying to be worthy of the woman he wants. And when the story does stray too far into romance territory, there's a scare or a gag waiting to break the mood and keep things fun. If you want a scary movie that keeps it light, and has a happy ending that isn't completely silly, Shaun of the Dead is the movie for you.

Shaun of the Dead is rated R for zombie violence, gore and language.

Robert's Score: 10/10

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1 comment:

  1. I just rewatched this film with some friends yesterday. It is really really solid. Great humor coupled with some cool zombie horror makes this one of the only movies about zombies I actually like (they're one of my least favorite horror creatures). I think the film has a couple unnecessary stumbles but is overall extremely excellent. I'd give it a 9/10!