Shaun of the Dead is one of the best movies you’ll see this year. What are you waiting for? Don’t read this review! Just get your ass up right now and run, or zombie shuffle, yourself down to the local cinema and see this movie ASAP. Unless, of course, you don’t like your movies too spectacularly good. If, on the other hand, you prefer to see merely mediocre or outright awful movies then perhaps you’d be better served seeing Aliens vs Predator, or whatever Sandra Bullock’s latest is.
Shaun of the Dead is a comedy/romance/horror zombie flick. If this sound a tad odd, well it is, but in the best way possible. The trailer unfortunately includes a couple scenes which, though funny in the film, in a trailer make it look like more of a spoof than it is. In fact, it’s not a spoof at all, even though it does contain scattered references to zombie movies past and present. The film centers on Shaun, just an ordinary guy who hasn’t made much of his life until a zombie epidemic breaks out around him. The film uses the older “slow moving” zombie variety which lends itself well to certain comedic scenes, but the film IS still a horror flick, which we’ll get to later. The comedy is pure Brit, with much of it coming out in banter, usually between Shaun and his main mate Ed, and in great “British” reactions to zombie scenes. I know I’m not doing the comedy any justice by describing it like this but just trust me that there are more laughs per minute in this movie that just about any I can think off from the last couple years.
Though most of the film is one of the best comedies I’ve seen in a while (along with Zach Braff’s wonderful Garden State), it is after all a zombie film and it doesn’t let you forget it. There is gore, and sometimes a lot of it, along with “jump moments” but this is, I think, one of the strongest elements of the movie. Because the comedy is so endearing and disarming that those moments which in another film you’d see coming a mile away really surprised me sometimes. Characters die in this film, because, you know, zombies, but there is no fodder here, at least not among the main character set. I’m not suggesting that you’ll go home and cry about a character that kicked the bucket, but group interaction meant so much to the comedy that when someone got lost I really noticed, unlike other films where five generic soldiers get eaten before we’re whittled down to the stars.
Again, there is gore here, so if you’re squeamish you should be ready to cover those eyes in a couple spots, but even if you watched the whole movie with a blindfold on it’d still be among the best films of the year.
Here's the trailer, even though it doesn't represent the film as well as it could.