Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shaun of the Dead

Edgar Wright's cult classic Shaun of the Dead follows the titular Shaun (Simon Pegg), a nice salesman who feels as though his life is going nowhere. His girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) is disappointed in his lack of ambition. Shaun's best friend Ed (Nick Frost) epitomizes this arrested development. Ed's simian humor (he literally imitates gorillas) amuses Shaun to no end, but leaves their other roommate, Shaun's girlfriend, and her judgmental roommates Diane and Dylan (Lucy Davis and Dylan Moran) cold.

In the midst of his personal problems, Shaun finds himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Is this his chance to find his inner strength and get his life together? That is, if he survives?

This comedy has amusing and surreal moments of silliness and satire, but its humor isn't for everyone. For those whose funny bone it doesn't strike, the film's strength comes from its metaphors. Shaun feels stuck in his routines, held back and a little dead inside--not unlike a zombie. In fact, the drones populating the city of London already resemble the living dead. Shaun is so oblivious to his fellow humans and the world around him, he hardly realizes an epidemic is upon them.

Our hero's journey from overlooked "loser" to courageous leader is also satisfying. He finds himself torn between the well-intended but prepubescent friend of his youth and his girlfriend's affections. This is as much a relationship film as it is a horror movie.

There are some bloody moments, though. Horror and horror-spoof fans will enjoy watching the nonplussed Shaun and his best mate battle zombies. Others might find the film diverting but not particularly memorable. Many might connect to a man in his thirties who is trying to find himself--zombie infestation or no.

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