Shaun of the Dead (2004) 1 brain1 brain1 brain1 brain

With a title like Shaun of the Dead, you might have fears that this is going to be a lame parody of Romero's classic. Nothing could be more untrue. Those that say it pays homage to zombie classics don't have it quite right either; although there are references that zombie fans will catch, Shaun of the Dead is its own creature. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg have crafted a fine zombie film that manages to be funny, tense, and dramatic, all at the appropriate moments.

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is an unmotivated electronics store clerk who usually can't think of anything more interesting to do with his free time than go to the pub or play video games at home. He's this way in part because this is what his best friend Ed (Nick Frost) likes to do, and Shaun just goes along with it. Shaun's girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) gets fed up and dumps him. Things are looking pretty grim when zombies start appearing around the city. Shaun rouses himself from his lethargy to defend himself and his friends.

The cast has several good comic actors, and the writing was sharp and creative and displayed a firm knowledge of what fans love to see in a zombie film. Like the best zombie films, though, there is more going on than just lots of zombies attacking. The film bills itself as a romantic comedy with zombies, and that is indeed a major subplot of the story, but we get to see several of Shaun's relationships evolve under the pressure of the zombie threat.

This was no budget film, either; a lot of care and time were put into the sets, makeup, and effects, resulting in some spectacular scenes. You'll know them when you see them. I'm not sure I would recommend this film to non-zombie fans. At the screening I was at, at the first rather violent scene I noticed one couple getting up to leave. I'm not sure what kind of movie they thought they were watching. But most fans will be completely satisfied.