Feb 8, 2009

[Movies] Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Every now and then, there come those films that just click with geek audiences around the world despite not having full support of the big movie studios along with full marketing budgets. Thus there are all these amazing, brilliant sort of sleeper hits that gain popularity by word-of-mouth more than anything else. The internet has certainly help support the growth of such films given web forums, blog posts and even sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster.

Despite hearing about the buzz around this movie for some time, it took me quite a while (read: years) before I finally got a copy of this film. Don't ask me why this happened, since I can only offer meager explanations and probably no worthwhile excuses.

Let's just be happy in the fact that I finally fulfilled my geek obligations and watched this movie. Naturally, I loved it.

Shaun of the Dead is a comedic zombie film, for lack of a better term. It seems to sum things up nicely, right? Funny British actors plus zombies equals comedic zombie film (since zombie movies deserve their own sub-genre apart from other horror movies).

At the core of the story is, of course, Shaun (Simon Pegg), a man whose life seems to be going straight down the toilet. He's a clerk for a local appliance store and he lost his girlfriend due to his own forgetfulness and carelessness. He's slightly estranged from his mother and the man she married and his best friend is pretty much a bum who eats up their resources at home. Things get even better when a strange epidemic seems to be spreading across the UK, which is ultimately revealed to be some sort of a zombie strain that turns the infected into the living dead. Oh what fun. So Shaun gathers those closest to him and tries to find a way to survive the zombie uprising as best as he can given his limited skills, what you might call his abilities and most of all what limited luck fate has given him.

What really makes this movie work is just the brilliance of the writing behind it, the kind of witty, tongue-in-cheek humor that makes any fan of British comedy laugh out loud even when watching the film alone. Thus additional pieces like the brilliant straight-man acting brought to the screen by Simon Pegg just further enhanced the film and made it the cult classic that it is today.

It's in this movie that I really understand how well the tandem between Pegg and Nick Frost really works. They pull-off the whole buddy-buddy vibe amazingly well, and I think this film showcases this best (even more than how it was done in Hot Fuzz). Sure, his character does get pretty annoying, but that's precisely how he was written as a character. Annoying yes, but oddly endearing in other ways as well.

If you like smart comedies and have a general appreciation for zombie movies, then you should enjoy this film as well. It doesn't take a hardcore geek to see the value in this type of movie and I'm sure there's a little something for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review and I definitely agree that the internet can help great sleeper movies grow by word-of-mouth. For a site where you can type "zombie comedy" in the search box and get Shaun of the Dead (among others) in the results, you might have a look at Jinni. We recently opened in private beta and offer search and recommendations powered by the Movie Genome.