Yes, I'm back. Like a stubborn, angry, hungry zombie, I'm back! Finally, let's get back to where I left off... :)
"SHAUN OF THE DEAD" (2004)
TAGLINE: "A romantic comedy. With zombies."
ENTIRE STORY IN AS FEW WORDS AS POSSIBLE: British slackers versus the undead.
UH, HOW DO WE TELL A BRIT FROM A ZOMBIE IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Funny you should ask...the movie itself doesn't draw much of a distinction! In England, moreso than the United States, the citizenry just go through the motions of everyday life every damn day, no matter how much personal pathos or joy each of them might know. Spontanaiety is a foreign concept here, especially to slacker extraordinaire Shaun (Simon Pegg, who co-wrote the script with director Edgar Wright). Like a record on a malfunctioning player, his needle repeats the same groove again and again for no other reason so he can deal with what's most familiar and therefore comfortable in his personal microcosm of existence. In other words, he can't dredge up the imagination to do much beyond existing in the moebius loop of his own creation...every day it's go to work, spend his off time with his best friend and couch potato Ed (Nick Frost), and have a stuck-in-neutral relationship with his girl, Liz (Kate Ashfield).
However. Liz has finally had enough and broken up with Shaun, which impels him to -- gasp! -- find new focus, perhaps bring positive change and resurrect his near-dead relationship with her. But first, he's got to deal with change of a different kind in the form of a zombie apocalypse.
SO IS IT GOOD?
The tagline alone should have told you plenty, OF COURSE it's good! Even the "Dawn of the Dead" remake didn't get as much praise as "Shaun" did, with everyone from film critics to audiences to gore-authorities like Stephen King and even "Dead" creator George Romero himself giving the movie their seal of approval. My two cents: the film is awesome, but be warned it has a veddy British sense of humor, a dry and reserved kind of perspective that left me grinning instead of laughing out loud. The movie plays itself amazingly straight...it's a romantic comedy about a slacker trying to redeem himself for his girlfriend, but oh by the way, a zombie pandemic has started! Still, director Edgar Wright is cagey enough to have fun with things, and even has something to say about society in ways just as profound as what Romero's films say. In fact, in the universe of the movie, at least Shaun is reluctant to address the horror movie nature of his situation. The following exchange between Shaun and Ed says it all...
Ed: "Any zombies out there?"
Shaun: "Don't say that!"
Shaun: "That! The...zed-word. Don't say it!"
Ed: "Why not?"
Shaun: "Because it's ridiculous!"
Ed: "All right! Are there any, though?"
Shaun: "I don't see any."
OKAY, BUT WAS THERE PLENTY OF BLOOD AND GORE?
Yep! This film might be a romantic comedy first with the horror of a zombie invasion coming an incidental second, but it's a CLOSE second, as evidenced by some truly gruesome moments. At one point, the most disagreeable living character in the film (who oddly enough looks like an adult Harry Potter) gets grabbed by a zombie horde and is literally ripped to pieces as he's screaming...it's great!
BOTTOM LINE, DID ANYBODY GET OUT ALIVE?
Yes...see the movie for yourself to find out who. (Hey, I'm not gonna spoil it for you!)
THE MORAL OF THIS STORY:
If the British kept a stiff upper lip during the Blitz in the Second World War, then they can handle ANYTHING, even the undead hordes. And dammit, they handle anything *politely!* Don't let yourself get stuck in a rut in your life, because if you're not careful you might be shuffling along endlessly in it, and then you're better off dead. What else? Oh, yeah! Your favorite pub might NOT be a good idea if you want to find shelter from zombies!