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Shaun of the Dead

A romantic comedy. With zombies. 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Edgar Wright 
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield  
An image from Shaun of the Dead
Review:

Shaun (Pegg) is 30, stuck in a dead-end job and with a very dissatisfied girlfriend, Liz (Ashfield). His life consists of work, visiting his mother and unbearable stepfather and going to The Winchester, his favourite pub, with his best friend and housemate, Ed (Frost). When dumped by Liz and told to sort his life out, he stumbles drunk out of the pub with Ed, failing to notice the uprising of the undead within London. When he finally realises the truth, he resolves to win Liz back by rescuing her and her friends, all of whom hate him. The zombies follow Shaun and Ed around the town, to his mum's house, Liz's flat, and finally back to The Winchester, where the film reaches its dramatic climax.

Similarly to Hot Fuzz, writers Pegg and Wright follow the formula of creating a film along the lines of its American and more serious counterparts. In this case, they have drawn heavily on Dawn of The Dead, Night of The Living Dead, and The Thing, while also citing British film 28 Days Later as a major influence. The overall message seems to be that anything that the Americans can do, we can make better, and far funnier.

With an all-British cast boasting some of the best stand-up talent in the country, the quality of the acting makes the idea of a zombie attack seem real. It's crammed with witty one-liners, head-splitting (literally) visual humour, and plenty of inside jokes that will keep fans of Pegg and Frost's TV show Spaced happy. This will surely please casual audience members and delight fans of the genre.

Michael Buttigieg

Archive

From the people who brought you 'Spaced' (a hilariously funny TV series) comes the world's first Rom-Zom-Com. This is undoubtedly a very British film but thankfully it continues the traditions of British horror films of recent years ('Dogsoldiers', '28 Days Later') rather than that of the comedies ('Blackball', 'Sex Lives of the Potato Men').

Co-writer Simon Pegg stars as Shaun, an ambition-starved shop assistant whose main entertainment is a night down The Winchester, his local pub. He's slowly alienating his girlfriend Kate and she eventually has enough of him. "It's not the end of the world," says his best mate, Ed (Frost). Only it very nearly is. Shaun's life is about to get a lot more complicated, thanks mostly, to zombies.

And so begins Shaun's mission; save his family and friends, then get to the Winchester before closing time. As with the best zombie movies, scant consideration is given to the cause of the undead curse, concentrating instead on how to escape it. Using a cricket bat, spade, and even his record collection ("Dire Straits?", "Throw it!"), Shaun fights his way through the undead, finding the sense of purpose his life was lacking.

The film is superbly acted; Pegg and Frost continuing their brilliant working relationship with excellent support from the rest of the cast, all well known for their comedic performances. Whilst there's nothing flashy about the directing, Wright (along with Pegg) has truly excelled himself in the writing.

Shaun of the Dead is the sort of film you have to watch at least twice to catch all of the brilliant one-liners, references and in-jokes. It's packed full of memorable quotes and has a superb sound track with Queen providing the backdrop to possibly the funniest scene in the film. This is clearly a film written by fans for fans, and is a film aimed at our generation. See it.

Ben Goddard

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Autumn Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Autumn Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Spring Term (35mm)
2009/2010 Summer Term (35mm)
2015/2016 Autumn Term (35mm)