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Does it holdup? Shaun of the Dead Review (2004)

Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 comedy zombie film

directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and is most known as the start of The Cornetto Trilogy.

The Cornetto Trilogy consists of three films: Shaun of the dead, Hot Fuzz and The Worlds End. Shaun of the Dead was meant to pay homage to ‘Dawn of the Dead’ directed by George A Romero while still making fun of the zombie genre.

The main story revolves around how a zombie apocalypse would play out within an English setting. However, the main drive of the film is the relationships between the three main characters: Shaun (Simon Pegg), Ed (Nick Frost) and Liz (Kate Ashfield).

The protagonist of the film is Shaun, who is just plodding his way through life and not really finding any meaning in what he is doing, this causes contention between him and his girlfriend Liz, who feels that Shaun is holding her back from her full potential.

The plot is as followed: After Shaun is dumped by his girlfriend, Liz. He finds that the world has suddenly be hoarded by zombies and he must, with the help of his friend Ed, find a way to save his mother and Liz. Once they are saved, they will wait for the apocalypse to blow over in their favourite pub, ‘The Winchester’.

This was Edgar Wright’s first feature length film and soon becomes his signature style and what he becomes known for during his other famous films. Overall, the story flows well between the main plot points but there are certain moments within the film where the stakes feel redundant and leaves the viewers underwhelmed.

Simon Pegg worked on the production with Edgar for over a year before it was finally green lit. Simon wanted the role of Ed to be played by his long-time friend Nick Frost in one of his first acting roles. The friendship between Shaun and Ed is the heart of the film, with the chemistry of the friends being evident in both the comedy and action scenes. They manage to play off each other’s performances really well and manage to explore the banter of the two characters.

If I had to pick one scene that shows the overall tone and fast paced nature of this movie it would be ‘The Plan’ scene, where Shaun plans out what they are going to do and how to rescue both Liz and his Mum from the zombies. This scene is a good example of the kinetic style of editing the comedy which can be conveyed through Simons delivery of the lines.

A few flaws I could see within this film, are that some of the characters were underdeveloped such as Dylan Moran’s character, David. David started off as a coward who was in love with Liz, but we never get any chance to really explore this.

Some other problems I have with this film is the under use of some plot devices such as Shaun’s hatred for his stepfather, Philip, that I feel gets resolved too quickly with one conversation between them. Overall, the film is well put together with an estimated budget of £4 million with the performances being genuine and helping create the iconic film. I liked that the zombies were never the focus of the film, and it was more based on character development and Shaun finding himself in a certainly doomed world.

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