Love him or hate him, you have to respect Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright for his creativity and the passion he brings to every project. This is probably most evident in Wright’s first box-office success, the aforementioned romantic-comedy turned zombie flick, Shaun of the Dead. When you add the film’s stars, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, into the mix, you’ve got a triumvirate of undeniable talent that they audience gleefully reaps the benefits of.
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a glorified man-child with an even more immature best-friend and roommate in Ed (Nick Frost). As Shaun’s friends and love interest begin to pester him to make something more of himself, Ed remains the only constant in his life, playing video games and rotting away on the couch. Soon enough, the societal pressure of Shaun’s relationships are eclipsed by a sudden zombie apocalypse that takes Britain by storm– although Shaun seems aloof to this at first, concerned only with his own problems. An unlikely hero, Shaun pulls himself up by his bootstraps while attempting to save his mother, girlfriend, and best friend from becoming worm-food.
The true genius of Shaun of the Dead is in the chemistry of the cast and the homage it pays to the genre-defining films such as Night of the Living Dead. The relationships are genuine and make the deadpan comedy more believable and natural. Without these well-written characters and respectable performances, Wright’s brand of humor might come off as insincere and cringeworthy. On top of that, this film is a romantic-comedy disguised as a zombie film, giving it a unique spin on a tired, overdone genre– the likes of which we’ve seen hundreds of times at this point. Because the film is focused on more than just bloodlust and gore, we can follow Shaun on his journey to become a better person and feel a sense of redemption; something that is rarely explored in horror.
Some might say that Shaun of the Dead is too self-indulgent, or maybe too self-aware, but that’s what makes it special. It never loses sight of what it is and feels like a bunch of friends came together to make a film that they genuinely enjoyed– and that’s exactly what it is.
Matt: Watch Gabe: Watch