Movie of the Week: “Shaun of the Dead”

Written by Joey Simpson October 24, 2012

As we creep and slither ever closer to Halloween, the We Eat Films team has decided to take on a horror infused-theme for our Movie of the Week. Our grizzly offering to the film gods this week is “Shaun of the Dead” (Edgar Wright, 2004), written by Wright and Simon Pegg. This installment continues in a long tradition of horror-infused comedy films which are so memorable this [pagan] holiday season. When we look back at the film, we can see the rising stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright in their infancy in this hilarious bloodbath. Pegg and Frost’s trademark quirky dialogue and deadpan delivery triumphs amid the chaos of a zombie apocalypse. It’s your typical romantic comedy…if it was written by David Lynch.

Army of Darkness

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a go-nowhere slacker salesman who lives in arrested development. He lacks the support of his peers and step-father (Bill Nighy), while he is constantly berated by his landlord for sheltering his weed selling best friend  Ed (Nick Frost). To top it all off, he is in a dead-end relationship with his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield), where they spend many nights at a cheap pub, called the Wincester. On the night that she finally breaks up with him, Shaun makes a pledge to turn his life around and make something of himself to win the adoration of his friends and family.

But as fate would have it, the whole world was turned around by a zombie apocalypse! Now Ed and Shaun, trying to win back Liz’s love, must also fight an endless horde of zombies and save Shaun’s friends and family. Equal parts horror and ironic humour, Shaun of the Dead takes many of its comedic cues from the BBC cult-hit “Spaced”, starring Pegg and Frost, with Wright as director. The film’s script allows it to deftly balance between the equal aspects of romance, comedy, and gore, seemingly on a whim. While on the whole a parody film, the audience feels genuine pathos for the survivors trying to find love at the end of the world.

They Live!

Despite its humble intentions, Shaun of the Dead has appeared on numerous lists as one of the finest horror and comedy films made in the 21st century. Pegg and Wright treat the material with its due tongue-and-cheek humour, creating a wonderful gem of a film that has earned the praise of Quentin Tarantino among others. This also occurs with the excellent timing of this work. While not fully a satirical film, the film was released several months after Zack Snyder’s remarkable hit, the “Dawn of the Dead” reboot. The latter is arguably responsible for the re-emergence of the zombie film in mainstream American cinema, while “Shaun of the Dead” contributed in no small part.

The film also catapulted the team of Pegg, Frost, and Wright into unexpected super-stardom. Pegg has made a name for himself in an array of American blockbusters, including “Star Trek” and “The Adventures of Tin Tin” (which Wright co-wrote), while Frost has appeared in smaller roles in “Pirate Radio” and others. The film also initiated a trilogy (the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy) of films involving the three men, beginning with “Shaun of the Dead”, then “Hot Fuzz”, and the in-progress “At the End of The World”.

Come out this Friday to see the film, currently playing at Western Film’s Midnight Cult Movies. For a wealth of witty, ironic laughs and some blood curdling gore, you’d better check this one out!

My rating: 8.5/10


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