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Twenty-nine-year-old Shaun's life is pretty simple. He spends his days
working his boring retail job, while his free time is divided between
hanging out with his best friend and roommate, Ed, and his girlfriend
Liz. Sadly, it's the latter that's been causing serious tension of late.
Liz is smart, lovely and ambitious, and she's convinced that crude,
infantile and overbearing Ed is a bad influence on her spineless,
aimless boyfriend. Ed loves video games, television, beer, and hanging
out with his mates. Most of all, Ed loves the Winchester, the pub down
the street that's been like a second home to him and Shaun for years.
And in Ed's company, it's true, Shaun has a tendency to whittle away his
hours fruitlessly. After one night too many at the old pub, Liz delivers
an ultimatum: she wants to see Shaun make a serious move towards
improving his going-nowhere life. Among these improvements, of course,
is making a firm commitment to choosing his relationship with Liz over
Ed and the pub. Shaun promises he'll change, and as proof, he promises
to make a reservation for their anniversary dinner at a fancy restaurant
-- which, naturally, he ends up completely forgetting to do. Frustrated
by his inability to live up to even this small promise, Liz breaks it
off with Shaun. Preoccupied as he is with having been dumped, Shaun
doesn't notice at first that all around him, strange changes are afoot
in his formerly staid suburban surrounds. After a drunken night with Ed,
Shaun wakes up the next morning to find that his town has been zombified.
All around, undead uglies clamor to feast on the flesh of the remaining
living, and thus turn the victims into zombies themselves. To avoid this
fate, Shaun finds himself forced to take action for the first time in
his life, and soon begins running around town to round up his family and
pals, including his Mom and Liz. With the streets unsafe and his own pad
having already been infiltrated, he finds himself turning to his home
away from home -- and holing every one up in the safety of the
I have to confess: horror movies aren't generally my thing. It's not the
fright factor, really, but the silliness of it all. Monsters and serial
killers and things that go bump in the night -- I've never understood why some
folks can't get enough of them. And the subset of zombie flicks, in
general, has always seemed particularly idiotic. Stumbling around
woodenly with blank stares and mouths agape, zombies have always struck
me as too dumb and too slow to be of any serious threat to your average
able-bodied human. I don't want to scream, so much as giggle at the
absurdity of the idea of these lumbering undead as a threat. So maybe
that's why I'm such a big fan of Shaun of the Dead -- a movie
that takes the zombie flick and plays it purely for laughs. Mixing
horror and comedy isn't a new idea, of course, but there's something
about Shaun's approach to the material that's a world away from the
running gags of, say, Scream. The humor is decidedly British,
which is to say delightfully deadpan with the occasional slapstick
thrown in for good measure. Moreover, in the midst of all the funny,
there's an actual story that's being told -- about a guy struggling to
win back his girl, and choose a direction for his life. Simon Pegg's
Shaun is spot-on perfect as the movie's unlikely hero; meanwhile fans of
will be pleased at the presence of Lucy "Dawn"
Davis as Liz. Riffing on zombie classics like Romero's Dead
series, this hilarious little spoof pokes gleeful fun at the conventions
of a genre that it clearly loves, while also offering an amusing take on
the perils of twentysomething slackerdom. —reviewed
by Yee-Fan Sun
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