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Overall Rating
4.14

Awesome52.6%
Worth A Look: 28.13%
Just Average: 7.29%
Pretty Crappy: 4.17%
Sucks: 7.81%

13 reviews, 114 user ratings


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Shaun of the Dead
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Mel Valentin

"A most excellent time will be had by one and all (especially zombie fans)."
4 stars

Billed as a “zom-rom-com” (or “Zombie/Romantic Comedy”), "Shaun of the Dead" is a playful, affectionate parody of the undead sub-genre, as reinvented by George A. Romero in his seminal “Dead” trilogy (e.g., "Night of the Living Dead," "Dawn of the Dead," "Day of the Dead"). The title, "Shaun of the Dead" is an obvious take on Romero’s "Dawn of the Dead" (Shaun is not, as the title suggests, a member of the ravenous undead). Co-written by Simon Pegg (“Shaun”) and Edgar Wright (who also directed), "Shaun of the Dead" unfolds as series of loosely connected scenes punctuated by humorous and occasionally gory gags, initially played for comedy and farce and, as the apocalypse takes over the storyline, into survivalist drama and pathos.

Our ostensible, if seriously flawed hero’s flaws are evident from the first (comical) scene. His girlfriend of three years, Liz (Kate Ashfield) wants more from their relationship and less of Shaun’s longtime friend (and freeloader), Ed (Nick Frost). Shaun, it seems, is torn between an overly extended adolescence, as exemplified by hard drinking, pot smoking, videogame playing Ed, and an adult, domestic life with Liz. The two seem mutually exclusive, especially as Liz gives Shaun an ultimatum: dinner for two at a swank restaurant or the end of their relationship. Shaun, however, is the classic slacker/screw-up. Whatever he does, whatever he plans, usually in a drunk or post-drunk haze, goes wrong. And let’s not forget a guilt-tripping stepfather, Phillip (Bill Nighy) who enters Shaun’s life to remind him of his bimonthly visit with Shaun’s mother, Barbara (Penelope Wilton).

Needless to say, Shaun’s personal problems are compounded by the inconvenient approach of the apocalypse in the form of an ever-growing horde of undead, all of them bent on making a meal of Shaun, his friends, his now ex-girlfriend, and his family. In probably the best extended gag in Shaun of the Dead, Shaun, distraught over his recent breakup with Liz and hungover from a night of overdrinking with Ed, shambles out of his home, oblivious to the walking dead, the scattered scenes of minor devastation (including bloody prints on the glass doors of a cooler or a slip in an unidentifiable substance). The apocalypse, it seems, has to come to Shaun’s door before he awakens to the rampaging undead. It does, literally, in the guise of a one-armed undead in their living room, and a supermarket cashier and fat man in their garden (Shaun thinks the girls is simply drunk).

Setting aside his bruised ego, Shaun takes action (or something approaching action), hoping to save Liz, her roommates Dianne (Lucy Davis) and David (Dylan Moran), and his mother and stepfather. After several visualized plans, each scuttled for a safety or other reasons, Shaun and Ed settle on a secure location where they can sit out the apocalypse over a beer or two, their friendly neighborhood pub, the Winchester (complete with an unfired Winchester rifle over the bar). Before they get there, the survivors have to contend with all sorts of complications, including the not unexpected turn of one character from sick and pasty-faced to newly undead (and ravenous). As their predicament unravels (none-too-quickly, as the ravenous undead are a patient bunch, waiting until just the right moment to break through the windows), the harried survivors begin turning on each other. One character, for no reason other than to kickstart the final confrontation with the undead horde anxiously (and patiently waiting outside the pub), turns illogically suicidal (he’s turned into an all-you-can eat buffet). Not everyone survives, and those that do, survive in (sometimes radically) altered form. Shaun’s dilemma, friendship or domesticity, is ultimately resolved to Shaun and Liz’s satisfaction (if not quite Ed’s).

For genre fans, and especially for fans of the undead sub-genre, Shaun of the Dead includes plenty of (head) nods and in-jokes to its sometimes less-than-illustrious predecessors, including, of course, Dawn of the Dead (e.g., the riff on the name, the retreat to a seemingly impregnable sanctuary, the shopping mall music, and a blink and you’ll miss it reference to Ken Foree, one of the stars of Romero’s 1978 film), and Night of the Living Dead (the “We’re coming to get you, Barbara,” line Ed utters into a phone line early in the film). There’s even a brief shot of a chained zombie in the epilogue (shown on a television program) that strongly echoes a similar character in Romero’s Day of the Dead. Then there are the fragmentary television broadcasts, all of them offering various explanations for the zombie plague (they’re left as conjecture, typical for films in the sub-genre less interested in plausible explanations than in survivalist drama).

Sly jokes and references aside, Shaun of the Dead delivers a surprisingly high gore quotient, including the expected head shots, the body-cam (an undead gets pierced by a pipe, giving the audience a clear view to the other characters), and in another nod to Romero, one character gets viciously eviscerated (not that he doesn’t deserve it). In an early scene, the undead prove to be worthy punching bags for Shaun’s frustrations. Pegg and Wright take the gag past the point-of-no-return, in turn generating discomfort and finally laughter from self-aware audience members. Other gags come and go, sometimes with little relation to the loosely structured plot (one gag finds the survivors encountering mirror opposites of themselves).

By ultimately putting aside the comic gags in the third act and opting instead for horror leavened with occasional bits of humor, Pegg and Wright falter in failing to deliver an appropriate balance between disparate genre elements (horror and romantic comedy). In addition, an unevenness of tone becomes apparent as the emphasis on horror and action in the third act sadly subsumes the clever, self-referential humor of the first and second acts. Still, these are minor quibbles for a film that (almost, at least for the first two-thirds) consistently delivers horror and comedy, a combination so rare that the successful genre hybrids (e.g., "Evil Dead 2," "Return of the Living Dead," "Dead Alive") are far outweighed by the near misses and forgettable failures.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9265&reviewer=402
originally posted: 08/03/05 22:17:37
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell good horror comedy 4 stars
6/28/13 Ionicera fried gold 5 stars
11/18/12 Sean Harrison An absolutely hilarious horror comedy. 4 stars
10/30/10 the dork knight Good, but unfortunately Hot Fuzz improved on it in every way, and it suffers. 4 stars
10/16/10 paul One of the best in many recent years !!! 5 stars
9/24/10 Geoff I love zombie films, and adding humor to the genre is a stroke of genius. 5 stars
1/09/10 art i HAVE only seen two ZOMBIE FILM"S in my life,WHITE zombiefrom 1932,zombie from 1980! 1 stars
12/25/09 Chad Dillon Cooper A funny gory loveletter to George Romero. Well done. 4 stars
10/06/09 PAUL SHORTT INEFFECTIVE AS SATIRE, COMEDY AND HORROR 2 stars
5/07/09 true Quirky and funny. So nice to see something different. Poor Shaun, what a life! 4 stars
12/22/08 brian First two-thirds terrific, final third generic. Original "Dawn of the Dead" better. 3 stars
12/21/08 Samantha Pruitt very smart movie, scary at the same time! 4 stars
10/30/08 Shaun Wallner Very Funny! 5 stars
4/13/08 Will Tingle Genius - Well worth your cash (especially if you like to play "spot the reference) 5 stars
3/24/08 Isaac M. Baranoff Extremely funny. Top notch. 5 stars
8/29/07 Doc Who An EXCELLENT movie 5 stars
7/13/07 fools♫gold Try not to watch it too many times at once. That's what I did, and look at my rating! 4 stars
4/17/07 Stevo u americans who think brits r stupid can just GET FUCKED. this is good 4 stars
4/16/07 tony g one of my top ten films! cracker!! 5 stars
3/18/07 Czechpointcharlie It will be hard to top this zombie satire. Tongue THROUGH the cheek. Lethally funny. 5 stars
2/24/07 Bitchflaps Vastly overpraised, promises on more inventiveness than it delivers. 2 stars
2/13/07 Laura This film is amazing, a must see for fans of romance, comedy or zombies! 5 stars
12/12/06 Frank It's not hip-hop.............it's electro. One of my all time favorites! 5 stars
10/23/06 jjones Not everyone's "cup of tea" but for movie geeks a must see. 4 stars
10/16/06 Terence Very entertaining movie. 5 stars
8/09/06 melivorous hilarious! i loved it 5 stars
6/15/06 Michele campy and funny 3 stars
5/30/06 Anthony G One of the best movies I have ever seen. 5 stars
1/03/06 Piz Some laugh out loud moments but really dragged in stretches. 3 stars
12/01/05 Jennifer S. This was one of the funniest movies I saw all year! 5 stars
11/21/05 Kurtis J. Beard So much fun. Great flick. 4 stars
11/20/05 skippy I thought it was lame, too...Christ, UNDEAD was better than this!!! 1 stars
11/19/05 YouLuvPoop This movie was fucking lame as shit - fuck the brits and their lame-as-hell humor!!!!! 1 stars
11/13/05 Kumble Yeah, that brilliant Birtish humor, where a stuck-out tongue is the epitome of hilarity. 1 stars
11/10/05 zeitgeist If you don't understand/like British humor, this movie isn't for you. 4 stars
11/01/05 mind dump Only mildly funny at certain points...no really worth the time. 2 stars
11/01/05 shackle the guy who recommended this to me got a punch in the back of the head the next morning. 1 stars
10/25/05 Crumbcake This movie was WAY oversold to me. I expected a classic...it wasn't. Lame. 1 stars
10/23/05 Suk-R-Punch What in the name of HELL was so great about THIS movie?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! 1 stars
10/18/05 Gumbo I totally agree...I think I laughed twice. The humor was SO low-key, it wasn't even there! 1 stars
10/15/05 OodlesofOs I hate this kind of humor...y'know...the nonexistant kind. 1 stars
10/13/05 gasp I think I chuckled twice...lame, lame, lame, lame, LAME! 1 stars
10/12/05 Bryant Gumby Quite possible the most ovrrated film ever. Not funny, not scary, not...anything. Pass. 1 stars
8/29/05 ES The dart scene was priceless 4 stars
8/13/05 Gabby is Renee This is well made and cool, although it falls away a little at the conclusion. 4 stars
8/08/05 C. Fidance This movie has everything! You'll laugh yourself silly and they don't skimp on the gore! 5 stars
8/06/05 Charlene Javier Cleverly funny! 4 stars
8/05/05 Nate Frary Freaking hillarious! 4 stars
8/04/05 ron abrams loved it. great fun 4 stars
7/06/05 Elizabeth Blackey BRILLIANT! Hillarious and gross at the same time. A keeper. 5 stars
6/24/05 Mr Fluffy The best zombie film starring Simon Pegg there is. 5 stars
6/08/05 Taylor Fladgate Clever! A must see sleeper. 5 stars
4/14/05 Raymond Montoya Good Comic Zombie movie. 4 stars
4/11/05 indrid cold Very funny. Not a classic but definitely worth a look. 4 stars
4/02/05 Arse Poet Heartwarming and funny, I loved it. Watch it with your lover. 5 stars
3/16/05 Jack Bourbon Good except when Shaun cries 4 stars
3/15/05 Sum Yung Guy Inconsistent in tone, not particularly funny or scary. 2 stars
3/13/05 Tamara Burks I had to drive 100 miles just to buy the dvd and it was well worth the drive . 5 stars
3/11/05 Pete fraud good movie, but it's not very funny. I got scared 4 stars
3/04/05 Chris Stephens I loved this movie!!! 5 stars
2/26/05 Charlene Javier Funneee! 5 stars
2/24/05 L.G. Was skeptical about a Zombie Comedy... this film SURPRISED me... Loved it and laughed a lot 5 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Great movie, hilarious, different! 4 stars
2/06/05 steve newman This is so great! I loved it and am going to watch it repeatedly - well done the BFI 5 stars
2/05/05 Amy Bradshaw This movie is hillarious! Very entertaining! 4 stars
1/27/05 Jim A very funny (and one suspects accurate) vision of zombie apocalypse 4 stars
1/21/05 Evan Slow start, second half is better 4 stars
12/31/04 Paterfam001 Dr. Nick the only reviewer who got it right 3 stars
12/18/04 Matt F. Loved this movie, funniest of the year. I'm Canadian. 5 stars
12/16/04 Bloody Holey Mary! True, Etheridge! But really takes off from start of zombie fight to refuge at "Winchester"! 3 stars
12/16/04 irbear very funny parody of zombie films. American here. 5 stars
12/16/04 Etheridge Hoogendijk Begins so slow; middle good eerie zombie action; ending leaves some to be desired. 3 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams finally finding a good use of that Sade album 5 stars
11/15/04 Dunce Delivers on every level and just all around terrific. Yes, I'm American. 5 stars
11/14/04 Ric A few decent laughs, but not nearly as fun as I'd hoped for. 2 stars
11/05/04 One more paranoid American We've been cursed with savoury ducks-goddamn British cuisine!!! 1 stars
10/26/04 the Grinch Loved it....funniest movie I've seen in awhile...maybe funnier than Team America even 5 stars
10/18/04 TITS U AMERICAN WANKERS LOL DONT NO A GOOD FILM IF IT HIT U IN THE HEAD 5 stars
10/17/04 psycho dwarf Fleshes out the parody of it's zombie pedigree. 4 stars
10/17/04 john bale Funny satire on zombie movies, especially the first half, the fairly routine. Good cast. 4 stars
10/10/04 Goggman One of the best movies I have seen this year!!! 5 stars
10/10/04 dumb brits d brits in dis movie, ex:Ed is a fair representation of brits in reality - dumb & stupid :) 1 stars
10/10/04 Archanist_101 Funny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
10/10/04 best of british typical fucking foreigners piss off back to dawn of the dead remake then 5 stars
10/09/04 Helen Bradley Totally rubbish worst film of the decade 1 stars
10/05/04 shazamp how come IDIOTS r continuously coming out with stupid ILLOGICAL movies? :( 2 stars
10/03/04 Cassi Brilliant and very funny! 5 stars
10/01/04 hank british dance music for starts, 2 stars
9/29/04 mont progresses far too slow, unsatisfying, ending sucked royale, ONLY for 100% NERD FANS 2 stars
9/28/04 asina The best movie of the year! 5 stars
9/27/04 maxomai A commentary on humdrum life. Classic. 5 stars
9/27/04 film jerk this movie sucked - tailor made for film geeks 1 stars
9/27/04 MorallySound Hillarious! 5 stars
9/27/04 Titus I don't regret seeing it, but it wasn't spectaculr. Some real funny, but often slow. 3 stars
9/26/04 ajay I agree with most, slow at times, but I laughed out loud several times. 4 stars
9/26/04 Agent Sands First 45 minutes are HILARIOUS. Then it can't decide what it is, & good qualities taper off 4 stars
9/26/04 KD On par with the original Dawn Of The Dead in all aspects! 5 stars
9/24/04 KingNeutron Could have been a bit more fast-paced, but some really good lines in it. 4 stars
9/24/04 nik what collin said, minus the shit about "Evil Dead II" which blows llamas 5 stars
9/24/04 kriss harvey better then the Passionfruit of the Christ 5 stars
9/24/04 Andrew Potts Great fun 5 stars
9/22/04 el burro Saw it over in NZ a month ago, it's a freakin shot in the arm. 5 stars
9/22/04 HOWDINSKI JUST FANTASTIC. WHAT A FILM THE BRITS SHOW HOLYWOOD HOW ITS DONE 5 stars
9/18/04 asina combines the 2 best things in film - zombies and comedy. 5 stars
8/31/04 Jim McLennan The best comedy of 2004, and the best horror film too. 5 stars
8/12/04 Mark D. Fulwiler very amusing! 4 stars
8/01/04 Wendell Walker Inventive, hilarious, and a surprisingly good story! 5 stars
6/02/04 Littlepurch A great British cast lead a lighthearted and hilarious spoof of the great "28 Days Later" 5 stars
5/20/04 Eloise best bit...the jukebox/fight scene...made me chuckle 5 stars
5/05/04 Daveman I went, I saw, I was entertained and amused but disappointed. 3 stars
5/05/04 J.Peckerfoot i laughed until a zombie shaped shit came out..i named it shaun.great film! 5 stars
5/05/04 Bobby Fisher british comedy that didnt star hugh grant... Awesome 5 stars
5/04/04 Mattster Yay! This film rocks! A very British sense if humour pervades throughout 5 stars
5/02/04 Me a great film 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Sep-2004 (R)
  DVD: 21-Dec-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  07-Oct-2004


Directed by
  Edgar Wright

Written by
  Edgar Wright
  Simon Pegg

Cast
  Simon Pegg
  Nick Frost
  Kate Ashfield
  Dylan Moran
  Lucy Davis
  Bill Nighy



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