This is a movie I’ve been wanting to watch for a little while now, however it’s only after watching Dawn of the Dead (2004), which I reviewed on Monday, that I finally feel qualified to do so. Before that, I had very little experience when it came to zombie films and for that reason, would have approached this film with much the same attitude as an ant would approach a piece of dust…with semi-interested ease. After watching a zombie movie (that’s right fans, it was my first), I found myself wondering, “What will this film do that makes it a parody of zombie movies and yet original at the same time?” The answers to that question are what follows.
Quick Review: This is a movie that should appeal to both those who love zombie movies and those who typically don’t. It balances humour and zombie cliches in a way that is both original and insightful (for a zombie movie). It is well acted, something usually completely missing from parodies, and well directed, keeping the viewer entertained throughout. If you’re looking for some light entertainment for you and some friends then this movie is perfect. For these reasons I’m giving it a 7.5/10 – Watch It!
Taking place in suburban London, the film opens on the life of our eponymous hero, Shaun (Simon Pegg) as his life begins to slowly crumble away around him. This is further exacerbated (a nice word learnt from the film) by his useless best friend Ed (Nick Frost) as he continues to occupy floor space in Shaun’s house, playing video games and smoking pot. This depressing state of events comes to a head when Shaun’s girlfriend leaves him on ground of incompetence and Shaun proceeds to get wasted at the Winchester. Que zombies.
To call this film a parody is probably incorrect. Because while it obviously references other zombie movies in some of the shots and situations used (here my Dawn of the Dead knowledge came in handy), it does so in a way that is less comedic mimicry and more fanboy appreciation, sampling from various films rather than just the one. In this way, the movie is able to garner some artistic merit of its’ own. For those who have seen Hot Fuzz, the later collaboration between Simon Pegg and Director Edgar Wright, you’ll be familiar with Wright’s original use of jump cuts and exaggerated sound effects to transition between scenes and locations, heightening audience interest in the film in a way more mainstream Hollywood films do not. Coupled with this is the way Pegg and Wright have decided to approach the narrative of the film.
Based around your typical zombie film structure of ‘characters wake to find zombies everywhere then find someplace to hide’, the film manages to blend tired zombie cliches with original humour to create its comedy, as opposed to other such films (Scary Movie) where directors resort to a cheaper style of comedy. And that’s really what sets this film apart from other films in the same style: it actually looks like a movie that someone has put time and effort and more importantly, intelligence, to create. This can be seen in the acting of the characters, the cinematography, set design, even makeup! As an added bonus for those zombie movie fans who like their movies bloody, I think this movie actually manages to be more cringeworthy than its namesake, replacing quantity with…well I suppose you could call it quality of a gory sort.
In all, I would recommend this movie to anyone (provided their about 14 and over) as it’s one of those rare movies that manages to entertain without coming across as cheap. It is funny without resorting to overused and vulgar comedy and it is very well made. Therefore, once again, I am giving it a 7.5/10 – Watch It!