In tonight's penultimate and NSFW language Shocktober post, I thought I'd take a look at one of the smartest and funniest zombie movies ever made, 2004's Shaun of the Dead. Writers Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (who also directed) put the British humor (or should that be 'humour?') spin on the genre with this story of a ne'er-do-well named Shaun (Pegg); his best friend, Ed (Nick Frost); his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) and his mum, Barbara (Penelope Wilton).
Shaun works in an electronics shop, stumbling through his day and hardly noticing what's happening around him. Ed wants him to stay home, smoke pot and play video games all day. Liz wants him to step up and take her somewhere else than the local pub for once and Barbara wants him to simply accept her second husband (Bill Nighy) and move on.
When the zombie apocalypse happens, Shaun hardly notices. He goes to work, ignoring the same beggar; the same skateboarder and the lack of an attendant at his local convenience store. It's not until he arrives home that he and Ed realize what's going on, after a zombie attacks them in the garden.
When their uptight roommate attacks, the boys formulate a plan. First they are going to rescue Liz, then Shaun's mum. After that... well, who knows? Of course, thanks to Liz's pretentious friends and Barbara's husband, the plan goes awry and after several misadventures (including a very funny acting lesson):
...they end up at the local pub, afterall. Eventually, Shaun and Liz make a miraculous escape and a few weeks later, things are (more or less) back to normal.
Wright and Pegg smartly reference Romero; Queen; 80's music; Dead Alive; game shows; Monty Python and dozens of other pop culture icons. I saw Shaun... at a Sunday matinee, by myself. There were maybe a dozen other patrons in the auditorium and I was dismayed at being the only person to laugh when Ed screams into the phone to Shaun's mum "We're coming to get you, Barbara!" I mean, honestly. What serious genre fan doesn't get that reference?
If you've never seen Shaun of the Dead (and shame on you, if not), you can watch it on YouTube here, for $2.99. Undoubtedly one of the smartest and funniest romzomcoms ever, Shaun of the Dead is required viewing for any genre fan. It also available on DVD and BluRay and shows up now and then on Comedy Central and SyFy in a language-edited version.