"Shaun of the Dead" Review

Updated on May 28, 2019
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

After the huge success of their TV Show Spaced, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg decided to take a shot at the big screen. Inspired by the episode "Art", in which the character of Pegg takes amphetamines and plays Resident Evil 2, Shaun of the Dead was born. And with it, the first installment of the acclaimed "Cornetto trilogy".

One of the greatest merits of this Wright gem is that although it includes many winks and cameos of British comedy (including, of course, the TV show Spaced itself), it doesn't marginalize the audience.

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is an almost-30-year-old electronics salesman who lives his routine with a lethargy that at times seems like straight-up apathy and depression. He lives in a house with his best friend Ed (Nick Frost), who is unemployed and spends most of his time drinking and playing video games.

Shaun wastes his days between a hated job where nobody respects him and a local cheap pub called The Winchester.

People around Shaun point out that his life has no direction and that his friendship with Ed is proof of that. Certainly, Shaun is quite careless with his relationships. His stepfather Philip (Bill Nighy) reminds him almost hopelessly that he does not forget to bring flowers to his mother Barbara (Penelope Wilton) on her birthday.

His girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), tired of the routine and the lack of passion and love, decides to break up with him to avoid a boring life without ambition.

Wright begins by showing Shaun's life as similar to a zombie. His little routine is full of slow, lifeless humans that surround him. Shaun himself behaves like a zombie several times. His pace through the world is so slow and clumsy that when the outbreak starts to develop, Shaun is unable to catch the imminent signals in his surroundings.

He is so immersed in his depressive micro-world that he could calmly have lived in this new paradigm if the zombies weren't hostile.

And it is there, with the imminent danger, that Shaun begins to take control of his life.

Determined to save his loved ones, Shaun plans with Ed to rescue his girlfriend and his mother so they all can find a strong shelter and wait out the crisis. Cricket bat in hand, Shaun starts his odyssey.

Edgar Wright's direction is simply masterful and the main reason why this movie is an absolute classic. Shaun of the Dead is full of details and recurring jokes that work on different levels. Every rewatch offers something new.

Wright refuses to make a traditional transition between scenes, which gives an incredible kinetic power to the film. These are 99 minutes where each shot serves to move the story forward, offer a funny gag or build one. Wright's detailed control over the story is simply absolute and admirable.

Let's examine a couple of examples. In several scenes, Shaun is at the entrance of his girlfriend's building, hoping his destiny improves. Wright uses two walls to emulate the sensation of a television with a 4:3 aspect ratio that, after moving the camera forward, becomes the liberating rectangular cinematic aspect.

Not only is this a great visual trick for geek cinephiles, but a visual resource to show the two lives (one enclosed in a box and another much wider) in which the main character is bouncing his existence.

What's Your Rating For Shaun of the Dead?

See results

In another scene, Shaun is just zapping the TV channels. He watches cartoons, sports, news, competitions shows, but doesn't commit to any channel. The interesting thing is that the audio of each channel perfectly forms several sentences, reporting on the zombie outbreak. Shaun, of course, doesn't catch the incredible coincidence, much less understands what happens on the street. It's both a gag and an element that drives the story forward.

In Shaun of the Dead, the zombies are slow and weak, Romero Style, because, as Pegg said in an interview, "Death is not an energy drink". But the real reason is not so much a tribute to Romero, but a clear symbolism about a life without passion, driven almost by inertia to which Shaun finally decides to survive.

Shaun of the Dead includes lots of zombie murders, all funny, silly and framed in a sweet spot between dark comedy and good-spirited tale.

In the end, Shaun gets the girl. Both live together, in what seems a quiet life that, although looks similar to the usual, has the huge difference of a Shaun that looks more confident and controlled. Shaun is navigating his life instead of being carried away by the current.

However, it would be a hypocrisy for Shaun of the Dead to finish his story on that serious note. Shaun, from time to time, escapes to his garden shed to play video games with a now-chained-zombie Ed. It's okay to keep friendships considered "immature."

Sometimes, it's okay to embrace the zombie within us.

Zombie Movie Details

Title: Shaun of the Dead

Release Year: 2004

Director(s): Edgar Wright

Writer(s): Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright

Actors: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, a.o.

5 stars for Shaun of the Dead

© 2019 Sam Shepards

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)