Review: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Pegg battles away at zombies to get to the pub in Shaun of the Dead...

Just over six years ago Simon Pegg was the relatively unknown star of Channel 4‘s Spaced. Flash forward to 2010 and he’s a household name and this is thanks, in part, to Shaun of the Dead. Achieving somewhat of a cult following, the film is an intelligent spoof of the zombie genre.

The movie focuses on the life electrical of salesman, Shaun (Simon Pegg). His girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield)’s attempts to break the monotonous track their lives have begun to take leads to her breaking up with him. The morning after Shaun and best friend Ed (Nick Frost) find themselves with a problem; they’re one girlfriend down and two zombies are lurking in their back garden and they only have Sade vinyls and mug trees in their arsenal. Shaun faces the task of saving his Mum (Penelope Wilton), dealing with his step-father Philip (Bill Nighy), reconciling his relationship with Liz and her friends before making it to the safest place on Earth; the Winchester pub.

Writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright fill the film with witty dialogue and clever use of timing whilst the soundtrack adds classic comic effect. The supporting cast shine and add plenty of laughs to the well-paced plot. Shaun and Ed’s conservatively straight-faced house mate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz) provides humorous relief to the drunken Djing antics of the bereaved Shaun and Ed whilst David (Dylan Moran) and Dianne (Lucy Davis) provide the film with a convincing couple who blindly but courageously follow their more headstrong friends.

Shaun of the Dead quite rightly won the Empire award for Best British Film in 2005 and is included in countless film compilations. It takes all that is good about British humour, throws it into a blender with the best horror films around and creates an instant classic.

Best line: “Ooh, he’s got an arm off”.
Best performance:
Nick Frost as Shaun’s best friend, Ed.
Best song:
Don’t Stop Me Now (Queen).
Best bit:
Shaun, Ed and Liz beating the pub landlord with pool cues.

Shaun’s friend Yvonne is in fact Jessica Hynes (then Jessica Stevenson), co-star of Spaced.

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