Friday, March 25, 2011

Flashback Reviews: Shaun of the Dead

Okay, so last weekend we saw Paul, right? You know, fun sci-fi stuff with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost?

Well, I've got a small admission to make: part of what got me to see it is that I haven't seen anything with that particular duo. So I figured, why not use it as a segue to one of their earlier collaborations?

So here we are, today, with a flashback review for good measure.

Let's get going with today's movie, then, shall we?

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a man who has almost no actual life to speak of: he's working in a middling job in retail, he's a shut-in with his friend Ed (Nick Frost), he's on rocky ground with his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), and he always spends his nights at the Winchester. So of course, when a zombie outbreak occurs all around him, it shakes up his life. And so, he finds himself having to answer to the call of duty as he tries to defend his friend, his girlfriend, his girlfriend's friends (Lucy Davis and Dylan Moran), and his mom (Penelope Wilton) by going to the Winchester, a safe and familiar place.

One thing I can say is that this movie does share a similar sense of humor with Paul. It shouldn't be surprising, either, given that Simon Pegg wrote both movies. But ultimately what it comes down to is that Pegg also makes a funny screenplay here that tries to blend it with elements of horror. So... I forget where I was going with that.

But what it comes down to is that I think Pegg managed to get that balance between the humor and the more serious stuff down quite a bit more with Shaun than he did with his more recent effort. Yes, the more usual genre elements are there, but they don't feel out of place. It might be attributed to the fact that it's a zombie movie and naturally, people have to die somewhere, right? But when they do find themselves dying it feels like it's supposed to happen, and not just because of the genre. And the way it plays around with zombie movie conventions helps to bring out a lot of laughs.

As well, there's something to be said about Edgar Wright's directing style. I can definitely see why he was the best choice for Scott Pilgrim, as pieces of the heavily-stylized and hyper-kinetic direction style for that particular movie can be seen here. In many regards, the directing style adds a certain element of flair to the whole enterprise that spices everything up in turn. And in some cases, it helps the comic timing immensely.

So when the two elements combine? Well, we get Shaun of the Dead in its bloody, gory, and entirely hilarious entirety. The blend of genre elements as played straight and for laughs is staunchly secure, and Edgar Wright's directing style gives a sense of flair to everything that occurs within the movie's running time.

So yeah. I'm shocked I didn't see this movie sooner.


Most definitely worth checking out.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.

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