Movie Poster
Shaun of the Dead
Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran, Lucy Davis
99 min.


So, about a month ago I got these tickets to see an advance screening of Shaun of the Dead followed by a Q&A with the director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Block E put the reels on in the wrong order, however, which resulted in an unscheduled intermission of about half an hour. Which meant, as I had a cross town engagement to see The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, that I had to leave before it was over. Consequently, I have not written a review until now. Now it is in wide release. Now everyone can see it. Now the review.

The tagline reads, "A Romantic Comedy. With Zombies." Be forwarned, however, that this is a real zombie movie. Complete with faux-Savini disembowelings and numerous headshots. It's also not some idiot parody. The comedy is intelligent, and comes naturally from the characters. This isn't a British Scary Movie. Thank god.

Two pub-rat loafers fail to notice the zombie infestation until they are practically the only people left in London. Then they notice. Then they go off on their heroic adventure to save, and then hook back up with, the recently-exed girlfriend.

Much of the humor comes from these being average guys in a situation usually reserved, in films, for SWAT teams or commando-types. When they finally find a gun, about one shot in twenty actually hits a head. Their plans are haphazard and frequently ill-advised, but be honest, you'd come up with some pretty stupid shit, too, in this situation.

As a proper zombie movie, the proceedings get fairly dramatic at the end. The dramatic climax of the film, however, has some of the best jokes in it, which manage not to undercut the drama. It's a remarkable achievement, really. A testament to the skill with which this was executed.

The details are filled with little in-joke references. None of them are particularly funny, but we George Romero fans will be pleased to notice Foree Electronics, the mother named Barbara and even the occasional snippet of Goblin. Also, keep an eye out for cameos by a handful of Britcom stars.

George Romero fans may also be interested to know that Romero liked Shaun so much that he cast Pegg and Frost in cameos in the forthcoming Land of the Dead (along with John Leguizamo - worry about that).

Go. Enjoy the best zombie movie since 28 Days Later. Or the best comedy since, um, A Dirty Shame.

Pat Jackson