Much-lauded comedy, described by its makers as 'a romantic comedy - with zombies'. Written by Simon Pegg, creator of the hit TV series 'Spaced', the film fuses the style (and copious bloodshed) of classic zombie films with observational suburban comedy. Shaun (Pegg) is a useless but likeable thirty-something who works in an electronics shop in Crouch End. He doesn't get much respect from his fellow staff, even though he's standing in as temporary boss; his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) has had enough of his lack of direction and penchant for downing pints in the local pub; and he doesn't get on with his stepdad (Bill Nighy). Things get worse when the living dead make their appearance, threatening to spread their zombie curse across the nation. Will Shaun be able to rise from his sofa to save the lives of the two women he loves - Liz and his dear old mum?
It's no disparagement to describe Simon Pegg and Edgar Wrights zombie-rom-com Shaun of the Dead
as playing like an extended episode of Spaced
. Not only does the movie have the rather modest scope of a TV production, it also boasts the snappy editing, smart camera moves, and deliciously post-modern dialogue familiar from the sitcom, as well as using many of the same cast: Peggs Shaun and Nick Frosts Ed are doppelgangers of their Spaced
characters, while Jessica Stevenson and Peter Serafinowicz appear in smaller roles. Unlike the TV series, its less important for the audience to be in on the movie in-jokes, though it wont hurt if you know George Romeros famous Dawn of the Dead
trilogy, which is liberally plundered for zombie behaviour and mythology.
Shaun is a loser, stuck in a dead-end job and held back by his slacker pal Ed. Girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) is exasperated by his lack of ambition and unceremoniously dumps him. As a result, Shaun misses out on what is apparently the end of the world. In a series of beautifully choreographed and edited scenes, including hilarious tracking shots to and from the local shop, he spectacularly fails to notice the death toll and subsequent zombie plague. Only when one appears in their back garden do Shaun and Ed take notice, hurling sundry kitchen appliances at the undead before breaking out the cricket bat. The catastrophe proves to be the catalyst for Shaun to take charge of his life, sort out his relations with his dotty mum (Penelope Wilton) and distant stepdad (Bill Nighy), and fight to win back his ex-girlfriend. Lucy Davis from The Office and Dylan Moran of Black Books fame head the excellent supporting cast. --Mark Walker