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Overall Rating
4.14

Awesome52.6%
Worth A Look: 28.13%
Average: 7.29%
Pretty Bad: 4.17%
Total Crap: 7.81%

13 reviews, 114 user ratings


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Shaun of the Dead
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by Luke Pyzik

"The very definition of an instant classic."
5 stars

When we first meet Shaun (Simon Pegg), he is drinking a pint at his favorite London pub while his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) threatens to leave him. She’s doesn’t want to become like the old losers who drink there every night, but wishes Shaun would quit being so lazy and start taking an interest in living adventurously. She also would like Shaun to spend a little less time with his best friend Ed (Nick Frost). “Not that I don’t like you,” Liz assures Ed, who happens to be hovering between the couple as they discuss the future of their relationship.

Not that anyone would blame her if she didn’t. Ed is loud, abrasive, immature, and lazy – the kind of bloke only a childhood friend could love. In fact, no one has ever seemed to like Ed, and Shaun has spent his entire life sticking up for him. Shaun also has a rocky relationship with his mother, who he doesn’t see enough, mostly because he hates his step-dad, Phillip (Bill Nighy). When Phillip stops by the electronics store where Shaun works as a miserable middle manager, Shaun feels the need to remind his coworkers that Phillip is not his real father.

So here is the set up for what could be a standard romantic comedy, but writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright have the idea to insert zombies and the apocalypse into the formula. On the day London is being attacked by flesh-eating zombies, Shaun decides to prove himself to Liz by coming to her rescue. The result is a coming of age story that is as sweet as it is gory.

Pegg, Wright, and Frost all worked together on the British television show, "Spaced," and while the comedians clearly harbor a sincere love for George Romero’s zombie trilogy, "Shaun of the Dead" is neither a spoof nor a straight tribute. The movie is more carefully balanced than any horror-comedy film I have ever seen. It has more weight than romps like the "Evil Dead" or "Return of the Living Dead" films, but it doesn’t take itself quite as seriously as John Landis’s attempts at the genre like "Innocent Blood" or "American Werewolf in London." The characters exist in a reality that we can recognize and deeply relate to, but it is not above stepping into absurdity. The movie works because it is able to mix farce with precise moments of human comedy, and unlike the recent "Dawn of the Dead" remake, "Shaun of the Dead" does not overlook the cultural satire of Romero’s films. Shaun hardly notices the world is changing at the beginning of the zombie takeover, and the filmmakers point out that everyone, including Shaun and his friends, act a lot like zombies anyway. Shawn’s slow realization that he is living among the dead is one of the movie’s greatest pleasures.

The movie combines quick wit with horror situations that would be right at home in Romero’s "Dead" trilogy. Director Edgar Wright shoots the frequent zombie attacks with great skill, and the visual effects team does a remarkable job creating truly disgusting gore. The movie builds to a claustrophobic climax that is both harrowing and drop-dead funny. Consider the fact that just minutes before the most famous kill shot from "Day of the Dead" is recreated in all its bloody detail, Shaun and company deliver a zombie beat down to the sound of Queen playing on the pub jukebox.

Despite all the action, the chemistry between Pegg and Frost remains the foundation of the movie. They are able to make the friendship between Shaun and Ed believable and organic as they bounce dialogue off each other with the speed and timing of a seasoned comic duo. Frost, especially, is able to do with Ed what few comic rubes can do. He simultaneously allows us to see why Shaun defends him and why the rest of the world dislikes him. Similarly, Pegg and Nighy are able to create a credible and complex father-son relationship in only a few short scenes together.

"Shaun of the Dead" is the very definition of an instant classic. It is so well written, so unique, and so well executed that it will immediately gain a cult audience. That it also makes us care about the characters and their relationships is a small miracle. With its razor sharp wit and horror-educated action scenes, "Shaun of the Dead" is an unlikely contender as one of the very best movies of 2004.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9265&reviewer=381
originally posted: 09/01/04 04:43:27
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell good horror comedy 4 stars
6/28/13 Ionicera fried gold 5 stars
11/19/12 Sean Harrison An absolutely hilarious horror comedy. 4 stars
10/31/10 the dork knight Good, but unfortunately Hot Fuzz improved on it in every way, and it suffers. 4 stars
10/17/10 paul One of the best in many recent years !!! 5 stars
9/25/10 Geoff I love zombie films, and adding humor to the genre is a stroke of genius. 5 stars
1/10/10 art i HAVE only seen two ZOMBIE FILM"S in my life,WHITE zombiefrom 1932,zombie from 1980! 1 stars
12/26/09 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
12/23/08 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
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Very Funny! 5 stars
4/14/08 Will Tingle Genius - Well worth your cash (especially if you like to play "spot the reference) 5 stars
3/25/08 Isaac M. Baranoff Extremely funny. Top notch. 5 stars
8/29/07 Doc Who An EXCELLENT movie 5 stars
7/14/07 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
4/17/07 tony g one of my top ten films! cracker!! 5 stars
3/19/07 Czechpointcharlie It will be hard to top this zombie satire. Tongue THROUGH the cheek. Lethally funny. 5 stars
2/25/07 Bitchflaps Vastly overpraised, promises on more inventiveness than it delivers. 2 stars
2/14/07 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
10/24/06 jjones Not everyone's "cup of tea" but for movie geeks a must see. 4 stars
10/17/06 Terence Very entertaining movie. 5 stars
8/10/06 melivorous hilarious! i loved it 5 stars
6/16/06 Michele campy and funny 3 stars
5/31/06 Anthony G One of the best movies I have ever seen. 5 stars
1/04/06 Piz Some laugh out loud moments but really dragged in stretches. 3 stars
12/02/05 Jennifer S. This was one of the funniest movies I saw all year! 5 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard So much fun. Great flick. 4 stars
11/21/05 skippy I thought it was lame, too...Christ, UNDEAD was better than this!!! 1 stars
11/20/05 YouLuvPoop This movie was fucking lame as shit - fuck the brits and their lame-as-hell humor!!!!! 1 stars
11/14/05 Kumble Yeah, that brilliant Birtish humor, where a stuck-out tongue is the epitome of hilarity. 1 stars
11/11/05 zeitgeist If you don't understand/like British humor, this movie isn't for you. 4 stars
11/02/05 mind dump Only mildly funny at certain points...no really worth the time. 2 stars
11/02/05 shackle the guy who recommended this to me got a punch in the back of the head the next morning. 1 stars
10/26/05 Crumbcake This movie was WAY oversold to me. I expected a classic...it wasn't. Lame. 1 stars
10/24/05 Suk-R-Punch What in the name of HELL was so great about THIS movie?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! 1 stars
10/19/05 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
10/14/05 gasp I think I chuckled twice...lame, lame, lame, lame, LAME! 1 stars
10/13/05 Bryant Gumby Quite possible the most ovrrated film ever. Not funny, not scary, not...anything. Pass. 1 stars
8/30/05 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
8/09/05 C. Fidance This movie has everything! You'll laugh yourself silly and they don't skimp on the gore! 5 stars
8/07/05 Charlene Javier Cleverly funny! 4 stars
8/05/05 Nate Frary Freaking hillarious! 4 stars
8/05/05 ron abrams loved it. great fun 4 stars
7/07/05 Elizabeth Blackey BRILLIANT! Hillarious and gross at the same time. A keeper. 5 stars
6/25/05 Mr Fluffy The best zombie film starring Simon Pegg there is. 5 stars
6/09/05 Taylor Fladgate Clever! A must see sleeper. 5 stars
4/15/05 Raymond Montoya Good Comic Zombie movie. 4 stars
4/12/05 indrid cold Very funny. Not a classic but definitely worth a look. 4 stars
4/03/05 Arse Poet Heartwarming and funny, I loved it. Watch it with your lover. 5 stars
3/17/05 Jack Bourbon Good except when Shaun cries 4 stars
3/16/05 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
3/12/05 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
2/27/05 Charlene Javier Funneee! 5 stars
2/25/05 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
2/07/05 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
1/01/05 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
12/17/04 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
12/10/04 Kristina Williams finally finding a good use of that Sade album 5 stars
11/16/04 Dunce Delivers on every level and just all around terrific. Yes, I'm American. 5 stars
11/15/04 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
10/27/04 the Grinch Loved it....funniest movie I've seen in awhile...maybe funnier than Team America even 5 stars
10/19/04 TITS U AMERICAN WANKERS LOL DONT NO A GOOD FILM IF IT HIT U IN THE HEAD 5 stars
10/18/04 psycho dwarf Fleshes out the parody of it's zombie pedigree. 4 stars
10/18/04 john bale Funny satire on zombie movies, especially the first half, the fairly routine. Good cast. 4 stars
10/11/04 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
10/02/04 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
9/28/04 maxomai A commentary on humdrum life. Classic. 5 stars
9/28/04 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
9/27/04 ajay I agree with most, slow at times, but I laughed out loud several times. 4 stars
9/27/04 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
9/25/04 KingNeutron Could have been a bit more fast-paced, but some really good lines in it. 4 stars
9/25/04 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
9/23/04 el burro Saw it over in NZ a month ago, it's a freakin shot in the arm. 5 stars
9/23/04 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
9/01/04 Jim McLennan The best comedy of 2004, and the best horror film too. 5 stars
8/13/04 Mark D. Fulwiler very amusing! 4 stars
8/02/04 Wendell Walker Inventive, hilarious, and a surprisingly good story! 5 stars
6/03/04 Littlepurch A great British cast lead a lighthearted and hilarious spoof of the great "28 Days Later" 5 stars
5/21/04 Eloise best bit...the jukebox/fight scene...made me chuckle 5 stars
5/06/04 Daveman I went, I saw, I was entertained and amused but disappointed. 3 stars
5/06/04 J.Peckerfoot i laughed until a zombie shaped shit came out..i named it shaun.great film! 5 stars
5/06/04 Bobby Fisher british comedy that didnt star hugh grant... Awesome 5 stars
5/05/04 Mattster Yay! This film rocks! A very British sense if humour pervades throughout 5 stars
5/03/04 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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