Shaun of the Dead
by J.D. Cook
A slice of fried gold is really the only way to describe this film. Not only is it a hilarious good time but it’s also exceedingly smart and philosophical. The story follows Shaun, played by Simon Pegg, as he attempts to survive a zombie outbreak whilst reconnecting with his ex and leading his friends and family to safety. Here’s what I really love though while the movie is about a zombie outbreak the opening montage of the film shows the audience that the majority of people are already zombies shuffling through life listening to head phones, repeating the same routines, and generally being as lifeless as possible. Even Shaun is stuck in the same routine with his best friend Ed, played by Nick Frost, attending the Winchester Pub nearly every day after work. It takes the zombie outbreak to snap Shaun out of this routine and grow up. On the subject of Shaun growing up, he is for the most part stuck in a world where his Mom is the center and he has an adolescent hatred for his step father Philip, played by Bill Nighy. Once his step father is near death he finally comes to terms with the fact that he does not need to conflict with Philip for his Mother’s affection. Unfortunately he turns into a zombie soon after this realization. Secondly Shaun has to literally shoot his zombie mother in order to grow up and make room for his girlfriend as the primary female relationship in his life. There are many more intricacies within the plot but for the sake of time I shall move onto Shaun of the Dead as both homage and parody of the zombie genre. This film obviously parodies many elements of the traditional zombie film; look no farther than the moment where Ed and Shaun are throwing records at the two zombies that have invaded their home for that. It is a homage in many other moments such as when Shaun and Ed drive past the field of zombies and the wiggling corpse in the body bag. These are references to scenes in Romero’s zombie films. Interestingly Shaun of the Dead was an intricate part in the zombie rival that has taken place in pop culture, it was even mentioned in my article the Man Who Invented Zombies. This love letter to zombie films showed a whole new generation what was great about the genre. Furthermore, I believe the zombie genre is as prevalent as it is today because much like in Shaun of the Dead people act like zombies in their daily lives and we thirst for a return to a world where survival is a struggle to give our zombie like lives meaning and fundamentally change us just like our cult hero Shaun is changed by the events of his zombie outbreak. Then again the ending begs the questions, has Shaun really left his routine or just altered it a bit? Lastly Edgar Wright did a masterful job directing every scene and introduced me to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now which is now a favorite tune. If you are interested he just put up an interactive version of Shaun of the Dead’s script. So I guess what I’m saying here is if you haven’t seen this film you should because it’s a modern masterpiece.