Horrorible Review: “Shaun of the Dead”

Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!

This is also a Zombie World Tour post!

Shaun of the Dead

“They go to where they’re familiar.”  I don’t mind watching gory, harsh zombie movies, but this is a monster that couldn’t be more well suited to comedy and this is my preferred mode.  I mean, ANYONE can slap a bunch of prosthetics on someone’s face, hire good screamers, and send a flunky to Krogers for pig intestines to chew on, but humor is a more delicate thing to master.  As with the unfunny version of zombies, where the social message is actually the important part, you have to get the funny right.  Zombies are not going to carry a movie for you – unless they’re a trained bagger – but they will kill a movie deader than dead if your funny mojo is off.  Get your comedy wrong and you have something excruciatingly bad, like The Mad.  *shudder*

“Dib bee dib bee dib bee dah dib bee bah deh.”  “UUUHHHAARRRR!”  There are three funny zombie movies at the top of my list of THE FUNNIEST.  Zombieland, which is cute and fun and has some interesting ideas, is my perennial third place.  The other two funniest are Fido, a Canadian movie shot in knock-your-eyes-out Technicolor, and Shaun of the Dead, a veddy British stop on my Zombie World Tour.  Which film is at number one on my list will vary according to mood and the weather.

“Next time I see him, he’s dead!”  The two men who made this film, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, are total zombie nerds.  Complete fan boys.  They star in the film, wrote it and directed.  The entire movie is so chock full o’ references that I know I’ve missed a lot, even after repeated viewings.  So, you can either make a drinking game out of references, or play a kind of Zombie Boggle of references and see who has more points or least ability to stand at the end of the film.

“The Zed word!  Don’t say it!” The opening credits feature a slew of living zombies; people who still have a pulse but are otherwise dead to the world.  This is why no one seems to notice the end of the world happening all around them.  Shaun and Ed are best friends who still live together like teenage BFFs, well past an appropriate age.  Ed is the ultimate slacker, and Shaun wishes he still could but has an actual girlfriend who is pressuring him to grow up.

“You’ve got red on you.” The production values are excellent, and the boys use every tool in the kit, from Dawn of the Dead Muzak, to several hilarious spoofs on zombie movie fundamentals, and even a Sam Raimi nod.  My favorite spoof is the boys assiduously NOT watching the news, though every channel is trying to warn them.  The physical comedy is top form. Every time a zombie gets whacked in the head with a leg I must laugh again.  Pegg and Frost have perfect comic timing.  Watch for an early scene where Shaun is trying to figure out what’s wrong with his relationship with Liz, while Ed plays a Dracula game behind them.  Liz says, “It’d be nice if we could…”  “Fuck!” interjects Ed, annoyed by the game.  And if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to attend a zombie walk…

“We’re coming to get you, Barbara!”  Please, if you have not yet seen this movie, go out and get it.  Watch it with a bunch of people who aren’t afraid to laugh and who don’t require a Ph.D. in humor to have fun.  Shaun of the Dead is smart, but it’s also completely dumb.  It’s totally great.


Shaun of the Dead movie poster

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