Shaun Of The Dead

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner5/04/2004

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

A self-styled “romzomcom”, Shaun of the Dead is a very funny, occasionally gory comedy horror that’s a treat for a) zombie movie buffs and b) fans of the TV series Spaced.

If you were a fan of the inventive and frequently hilarious Channel 4 sitcom Spaced, you’ll pretty much know what to expect from Shaun of the Dead. Co-written by Spaced actor/writer Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright, it also stars most of the cast as well as recycling a few of the gags from the ‘zombie’ episode.

In addition, it has the absurdly good fortune to be coming out a mere two weeks behind its comedy namesake, Dawn of the Dead. As such, it delivers a steady stream of gags, great lines and several gory moments as well as making good on the romantic comedy side of things. Which is pretty much all you could ask of a romzomcom, really.

Win Back The Girlfriend And Thwart The Zombie Invasion…

Simon Pegg plays Shaun, a 29 year old slacker content to shuffle through his life like, well, a zombie. His days revolve around his dead-end job as the manager of an electronics store and spending an unhealthy amount of time in the local pub with his flatmate and best friend Ed (Nick Frost) and his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield).

However, when Liz decides she’s had enough and ends the relationship, Shaun decides to take control of his life and win her back. First, however, there’s the small matter of the invasion of the undead to contend with…

First things first – the gag quota is pleasingly high, with a guaranteed chuckle every couple of minutes or so. There are several hilarious lines, but Pegg and Wright are also careful to intersperse the laughs with plenty of zombie ‘action’ and the odd moment of gory horror. In addition, the plot is well-structured, though it drags a little towards the end and is much more comfortable during the comic set-pieces than the dramatic scenes.

Extremely Clever Script

That said, the script itself is extremely clever and rewards close attention, as several lines, phrases and motifs are subtly repeated in the second half of the film, to amusing effect.

The actors are excellent. Pegg, in particular, makes an extremely likeable ‘everyman’ lead and there’s great comic support from Frost, as well as Dylan Moran and Lucy Davis (Dawn from The Office) as Liz’s flatmates and Penelope Wilton and Bill Nighy (typecast as the undead for the second time in less than a year) as Shaun’s parents.

There’s also a wonderful cameo moment that’s an absolute treat for fans of currrent British comedy, where our team of heroes meet their comedy ‘doubles’ going the other way and the other team is made up of six familiar TV faces.

In short, Shaun of the Dead is the best British comedy for Quite Some Time: it’s intelligent, funny and sufficiently gory to keep horror buffs happy. Highly recommended.

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Shaun Of The Dead
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Content updated: 15/10/2019 03:23

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