Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Directed by Edgar Wright
British, 99 mins, R (zombie gore, drool, guts, and violence)
I’m officially bored with zombies. I don’t want to read books about zombies and Jane Austen, don’t need any video games that allow me to put them out of commission, and sure as hell don’t want to see any more movies about them. In fact, I’d rather take a shovel to the head—apparently a good way to killing zombies—than sit through a second showing of Shaun of the Dead.
Against my better judgment, I allowed myself to be seduced into watching this lame “comedy.” I had been assured by numerous people that it was a “cult classic,” was “screamingly funny,” and a film “you’ve got to see.” When I looked it up I found out that it took in a mere $4 million at the box office. After seeing it I can assure you, gentle readers, that this has nothing to do with the fact that it’s an English film or that an independent studio made it. It has everything to do with the fact that it’s lame, shoddily made, and singularly devoid of either horror or humor. I know it's Halloween season and that this film looks tempting as a Netflix offering, but you be better off gorging yourself on candy corn than ingesting this bit of zombie porn.
Shaun is British comedian Simon Pegg, who co-wrote this mess. He plays a loser among losers—a guy in a dead end job who can’t even hold onto his vacuous girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield). Shaun shares a flat with Ed (Nick Frost), a fat, unemployed, video-game-playing slob and the only man in London who’s a bigger loser than he. Shaun is so clueless, in fact, that it takes him an entire day to notice that most of London has turned into flesh-eating zombies. Hah, hah—that’s one of the funny jokes in the film. So too is Shaun’s effort to rescue Liz, his mother, his despicable father-in-law (Bill Nighy—the best thing in the film), and a small circle of friends by leading them to a supposed safe refuge in a down-market pub. Of course! Where else would you hole up until a zombie craze died down? As you would expect—and there’s nothing in this fill-in-the-clichés-script that you wouldn’t expect—things go very wrong, though Shaun’s impulsive-but-decisive leadership helps him win the gal in the end.
Sorry if I’ve given too much away, but if I dissuade you from renting this film…well… let’s just say that Nobel Prizes have been given for less. The movie is Jim Carrey-like in its broad humor, Jackass-like in its crudity, and as cheesy as Borat. This is definitely not a film you “need” to see. It’s a yawner not a yowler, and it could only be considered a “classic” by those brain-damaged enough to qualify as zombies. As for the latter, enough already; zombies have been so overdone that it’s time to drop the “done” and just let zombies be “over.”