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Tuesday
Jun212011

Shaun of the Dead  

This is an instant classic!   The title is a play on Romero’s classic zombie film “Dawn of the Dead”.   It’s a British comedy (the best kind) concerning a bloke named Shaun (Simon Pegg) who at first can’t be bothered to notice that his London neighborhood has been overrun by zombies, seeing as how he’s on the outs with his girlfriend Liz, but then rallies with his slacker buddy Ed (Nick Frost) to lead a motley crew (which includes Liz and Shaun’s mum) in a stand against the undead.  

I heard a radio interview with the filmmakers (Pegg was co-writer along with director Edgar Wright) in which they spoke of being influenced by Mike Leigh, the director of all those great social realist dramas of everyday life (“Secrets and Lies”, “Naked”).   They said that they thought it would be interesting to see how it would work to plop some zombies down in a Leigh-esque milieu.   They also spoke of being influenced by comedic “mockumentaries” like my beloved “The Office”.   These influences have produced a very interesting mix of realism and fantasy, wherein the rhythms of everyday life are established so that the appearance of the zombies in this context is all the more startling.  

Plus “Shaun of the Dead” is a great laugh, which we all need.   Not to mention that it features Lucy Davis, the actress who played Dawn in the afore-mentioned “The Office” (also a treat for “Office” fans is that Martin Freeman, who played Dawn’s long-suffering admirer Tim in that great program, makes a cameo appearance!).   This is also one of those rare films that it’s actually fun to see with a general audience, to hear the shrieks alternating with laughter.  

One caveat: this movie is not for you if you can’t abide gore, as there’s zombie-ific mayhem aplenty!  

--Oct 4, 2004

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