Movie #146 2020: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Yeah, yeah, I hear you. ”You’ve not seen Shaun of the Dead before?!” Shut your pie hole. Why would I have seen it before? Because everyone in the Kingdom of the United countries jizzed all over it when I was 13?

I tend to avoid these things, not because they’re popular, but because everything is so over-quoted that I just feel as though I’ve already seen the movie by the time I get to it.

So, due to the aforementioned jizzing, I was under the impression that this would be the funniest film ever made… but it wasn’t. It has a few good laughs in it, but I’m guessing it’s just not aged that well. Or maybe it’s because it has fallen into that over-hyped category that I try to avoid so much. The more I think about it, this is a perfect example of that. I didn’t think it was bad, per se, but it was average.

Just in case you’re one of the 8 other people in this country who haven’t seen this movie, it’s basically a horror-comedy, centring on an average white dude (Shaun, played by Simon Pegg) who finds himself embroiled in a zombie invasion. I use the term ‘horror’ lightly, because the only thing horror about this is the zombie theme, which is used more as an ironic trope to muster humour out of the horrible situation rather than to create any real scares. Again, this is executed well enough, but it’s nothing outstanding. Because the horror aspect is so light, it had to be really funny to win me over completely.

There are good performances by everyone involved though, and they do the absolute best they could have with the material they were given. Nick Frost is the MVP here without a doubt, as supporting actors so often are. Alongside that, there are many cameos within the film, including Pegg’s Spaced co-star, Jessica Hynes, Peter Serafinowicz, and Tamsin Grieg, all of which affirm the theory that there are no small parts, only small actors.

Shaun is well made and well directed by Edgar Wright. One thing to love is how he speeds events up with a single flick of a switch, e.g. turning night into day in an instant. It’s really unique, and something he has carried through to his Baby Driver days. His editor proves his worth too: barring one or two sections, this film is relatively well-paced and not too long.

Although I can’t rate this any more than average because it lacked enough humour for me (perhaps spoiled by those blasted over-quoters), I enjoyed it enough to continue with the Cornetto Trilogy. Keep an eye out!

Shaun of the Dead is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

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