Friday, October 27, 2017

Movie Review: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead (2004) co-written and directed by Edgar Wright

Slacker Shaun lives a boring and repetitive existence. He wakes up, has a chat with his even-more-of-a-slacker flatmate Ed, goes to the local convenience store for a soda, and heads off to work. After work, he hangs out at his favorite pub, The Winchester. Shaun's girlfriend Liz is tired of the routine and finally dumps him. Shaun also has trouble with his mum, who remarried when Shaun was twelve. Shaun has never gotten on well with his step-dad, who is constantly badgering him. Meanwhile, the zombie apocalypse starts in the background. After the dumping, Shaun and Ed go to The Winchester to get drunk and commiserate over Shaun's losses. Back at the flat, Shaun writes himself a note before passing out. The next day, the same routine starts and Shaun doesn't realize people aren't acting the same. By the time he gets back from the store, he and Ed realize things are amiss. Shaun sees his note telling himself to get Liz back and go visit his mum. He realizes this is the opportunity to turn his life around by actually doing something. Anything.

The movie's simple premise allows for a lot of creativity in storytelling. The movie has a lot of visual repetitions and call backs that are funny and show changes in the characters and situations. Shaun winds up improvising a lot of his plan along the way with comic results. The movie also has enough drama in moments where it needs it (like when loved ones need to be killed) to feel well-rounded. Since it is a zombie film with overtones of George Romero, the gore is strongly R-rated. The movie also has a very British feel to it, with pragmatism and propriety clashing in interesting and comical ways. The mash-up of romantic comedy and zombie horror works surprisingly well.

Highly recommended, as long as you can stand some serious gore.

This movie was discussed way back on episode 20 of A Good Story is Hard to Find.

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