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Overall Rating
4.13

Awesome52.6%
Worth A Look: 27.6%
Average: 7.81%
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 Rob Gonsalves

"A modern classic."
5 stars

The zombie film is ripe for comedy -- how could it not be? All those shambling, moaning corpses, drooling vacantly as they pursue living flesh, then slurping intestines with a gourmand's brio.

The genre's modern-day innovator George Romero understood its inherent farcical qualities perfectly well; in his seminal Night of the Living Dead, we find a guy on TV summing up the zombie epidemic with "Ah, they're dead -- they're all messed up," and in 1979's Dawn of the Dead more than a few walking dead literally catch pies in the kisser. Even in a grim rip-off like Lucio Fulci's Zombie there's the well-loved underwater face-off between a zombie and a shark (guess who wins).

Edgar Wright (director and co-writer) and Simon Pegg (co-writer and star) understand just as well, and the film they have wrought, Shaun of the Dead (already a big hit in Britain), is not only a loving, teasing homage to the Romero Dead films. It's also a superb zombie film in its own right, its humor always grounded in character reality and those characters' plausible reactions to extraordinary circumstances. Wright and Pegg, like John Landis in An American Werewolf in London, first give us funny, recognizable human beings, and then let loose the wolves and flesh-eaters. Horror fans will devour it whole, but the squeamish or easily-spooked shouldn't avoid it; it's also a superb comedy in its own right.

The eponymous Shaun (Pegg) lives in a cluttered London flat with childhood buddy turned slacker roomie Ed (Nick Frost, hilarious even when his sometimes-thick accent baffles American ears). Shaun toils in an appliance store; at age 29 he's settled for whatever life hands him, as long as he can go to his favorite pub at the end of the day and get sloshed with Ed. His girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) is sick of waiting for him to grow up. For about the first reel, Shaun deals with the various mundane aggravations of his life, with odd things always happening in the backgrounds of shots. That Shaun and his self-absorbed friends -- including aspiring actress Dianne (Lucy Davis) and her wimpola boyfriend David (Dylan Moran) -- would ignore the growing evidence of the undead is perfectly credible. "Panic on the streets of London," sings Morrissey on the telly in one scene. Well, not quite yet.

Soon enough the infection spreads, literally into Shaun and Ed's back yard -- a forlorn zombie woman they take for a drunk. Other zombies quickly join her, and the two slackers decide on the ideal place for holing up -- not a shopping mall, but their favorite pub. Along for the ride are Liz, Dianne, David, and Shaun's sweetly oblivious mum (Penelope Wilton, the best mom in horror movies since Mimi Rogers in Ginger Snaps). What follows hews closer to gut-wrench than to belly-laugh, though our heroes remain riotous in their consistency; when the power comes back on, and everyone is straining to keep quiet to hide from the zombies outside, Ed does something spectacularly stupid yet absolutely in character. The writing is so sharp that nothing anyone does rings false, even when a newly zombified character reaches out with a mottled claw to ... turn off an offending stereo.

I picture George Romero howling with glee at Shaun of the Dead (the American ads carry his enthusiastic blurb), maybe because the movie so successfully continues his legacy. Romero's films are uniquely American, and Shaun of the Dead is inconceivable anywhere but London, where survivors take stock of the situation over Guinness and crisps.

But the movie is far from a Mel Brooks-style lampoon; it takes the rules seriously (even when ribbing them) and isn't afraid to nudge the audience into true horror or even pathos when the story calls for either. In spirit, it's far closer to Romero's vision than last spring's dull 'Dawn of the Dead' remake. It knows when to play for laughs and when to play for keeps.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9265&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/30/06 14:53:05
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User Comments

7/26/14 diphxmgiwqo USA 3 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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