Projections - Movie Reviews

Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Dylan Moran, Lucy Davis, Bill Nighy

The undead aren’t in short supply on celluloid this year, and after Resident Evil: Apocalypse comes a British import that has some comedic, grisly bite to it.

Shaun of The Dead has fun with George Romero’s “Dead” trilogy, going about it differently than the gorefest of a remake, Dawn of The Dead. The storyline doesn’t quite end as strongly as it opens, except for a sharp epilogue, but there’s spry work in the screenplay by Simon Pegg, who collaborated with director Edgar Wright.

It, happens that Pegg is the title character who lives in North London as an underachieving commitment-phobe electronics sales adviser. He’s barely got a hold on a long-term relationship with girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), while feeling quite content at the Winchester Pub where he gets drunk with overweight videogramer Ed, a very funny Nick Frost.

Shaun is oblivious to the living dead around him, because he appears to fit right in. A zombie can be killed by decapitation and only shovels and cricket bats are needed if there are no guns. A handy record collection like an LP from Dire Straits can also keep him and Ed safe for a little while.

Wright sets up some pretty amusing scenes right from an early visit to a corner store after some long Saturday night partying. When the zombies start coming to get the locals, Shaun must wake up to save Liz and her friends, played by Dylan Moran and Lucy Davis. Events unfold and underline a sense of detachment for this slacker who must start doing more than giving flowers to his mum that accidentally reach Liz first. The desultory existence of a twenty-something being affected by a vague curse leads to some demented, but wry moments as everyone, including Shaun appear to be left for the undead.

Behind a zestful Pegg and a wonderfully loutish Frost, Penelope Wilton (Calendar Girls) is good as Shaun’s caring mum and Bill Nighy (Love Actually) is just right as the ornery, but understanding step-dad. The scares aren’t hardly as potent as the aforementioned Dawn of The Dead with Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames, or the more dramatically felt 28 Days Later, which one might find some similarity after an extended, rather horrific scene at the pub. Yet, when Shaun has to blend in with these wild hunched-over groaners he begins to get on Liz’s good side again. The film knows when to get serious before exacerbating it all for the dead fun.

Shaun of the Dead

Home | Search | Reviewer Bios | Links | Mail Us
Copyright © 2005 Projections