Shaun of the Dead

by Suw on September 9, 2004

Sometimes, being a film maker and scriptwriter means that you become overly critical of films. I couldn't really relax into Spider-Man 2 despite the fact that I'm an avid fan of the first and think Tobey Maguire is perfect for the role. There were too many sub-plots, too many similarities between Doc Ock and the Green Goblin, too many clunky bits of dialogue, to much set-up and not enough pay-off. I kinda enjoyed bits of it, but I couldn't keep my disbelief suspended properly for the whole film.
Rarely, one comes across a film where being a film maker and scriptwriter enhances the experience, and Shaun of the Dead is one such film. There is a standard structure for films, and when you understand what it is the structural elements stick out like sore thumbs. Sometimes, this detracts, but in Shaun of the Dead, because they're playing with the genre, it all adds to the fun.
(It would probably be even funnier if I actually knew the zombie genre – I am sure there are other jokes I didn't spot because I'm a big girl's blouse.)
Throughout the beginning of the film I was watching for hint and tips as to what was to come, and I wasn't disappointed, but of course, the fact that Shaun was oblivious to the obvious just made it so much funnier. Add to that the endearing gormless charm Simon Pegg brings to the role, and you build immense sympathy for this shambolic accidental hero.
I'm not one for zombie films – I really don't like gore – but SotD was pretty light on gore, for which I was grateful. In fact, the gore that was in evidence was pretty unrealistic and really rather amusing.
Plus, it was all very British in the best of ways. There's just the most fantastic sequence where a hungover and semi-insensible Shaun goes to the corner shop, blindly sidestepping zombies there and back without once noticing. And seeing Shaun wielding a cricket bat, smacking zombies round the head as if it were Sunday on the village green was priceless.
Anyway, sorry this is a crappy review, but in short I laughed like a drain, found Simon Pegg to be endearingly attractive and it wasn't too gory for my sensitive nature. Go. Watch. Now. Else I'll twat you one with a cricket bat.
UPDATE: Bizarre circularity.
[22:57] [raku] I've never understood “laughed like a drain”
[22:57] [Suw] lol
[22:57] [Suw] me neither
[22:57] [Suw] but that was definitely what i did
[22:57] [Suw] bits of it were just so, so funny
[22:57] [KevinMarks] gurgly noises
[22:58] [KevinMarks] coughing up bits of hair?
[22:58] [Suw] furball!!!
[22:58] [Suw] er, no
[22:58] [raku] hmm… suw, I googled for “laughed like a drain”, and this showed up on the first page:,4120,1173579,00.html
See also Shaun of the Dead – the extras.

Anonymous September 9, 2004 at 10:32 pm

Else I'll twat you one with a cricket bat.
Aim for the head, Suw. Aim for the head.

Anonymous September 9, 2004 at 11:23 pm

Never mind the gore, were there any “shock jump” moments in Shaun of the Dead? was it frightening? because I hate frightening films but *loved* Spaced. Loved loved loved it.

Anonymous September 10, 2004 at 12:13 am

You should try “Undead”. Its a very funny australian zombie movie (it was released some months ago in France).

Anonymous September 10, 2004 at 7:22 am

No, I wouldn't say that there were any moments that made me jump – it wasn't frightening at all really. I too hate scary films, but this was mainly belly laughs with a few genuinely tender moments. If you liked Spaced, I am sure you will love SotD.

Anonymous September 10, 2004 at 7:42 am

If you don't mind the gore in Shaun of the Dead you'll be fine with Fight Club then.
Though Fight Club is sadly lacking in people lanced with swing-balls (which reminds me of the best moment; when Shaun climbs the children's slide to see over the fence – genius).

Anonymous September 10, 2004 at 7:55 am

Well, the gore was very unrealistic which made it much easier to deal with. The scene that made me wince a bit was when David (the irritating Irish guy) meets his end – had that been any more realistic I would have really not liked it at all, but it was so obviously fake. I was relieved as well to see that when they starting taking out the zombies it didn't become a splatterfest.
I did love the chilren's slide bit, though, and the trampoline bit.

Anonymous September 10, 2004 at 11:20 am

I've been trying to resist but I feel a DVD purchase coming on. Loved SotD… laughed my arse off… although that does now make going to the toilet an extremely messy affair.

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