With the hellfire of post graduation-blues burning a hole in my pocketbook (as well as soul), going to the cinema seems like a luxury these days. Thus, the hunt for already-seen films you can watch over and over again has begun!
When it’s time to bring out the snacks and place yourself in front of the tv for 90 minutes of solid entertainment, forget the Euros and instead put on one of the funniest films of the last decade; Shaun of the Dead. Who doesn’t like a good, old zombie flick? Horror has never been a favourite genre of mine, but mix it up with comedy/spoof and I will gladly watch it over and over again. That is, if it produces a script half as funny as this one. You know what you’re in for when the film opens by comparing zombies to people worn down by mind-numbingly boring trivial jobs, with limbs moving slowly and close-ups of expressionless faces.
Our protagonist Shaun, portrayed by Simon Pegg, is stuck in a dead end job as well as a dead end relationship when the world falls spectacularly to pieces. His girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) dumps him at the same time as London is hit by a mysterious plague which sees the dead coming back to life, hunting for human flesh to quench their hunger. As the film starts off, we are bombarded by groaning sounds time and time again, expecting to see zombies but instead get people yawning or sleepily making their way out of bed in the morning. In fact, in the beginning Shaun is unaware of the capital’s descent into apocalyptic nightmare territory, and manoeuvres his way through London unknowingly dodging zombies at every corner, to the delight of the audience.
As the zombies grow in numbers and the outbreak starts to worsen, Shaun and his best friend and flatmate, childish slacker Ed, played by Nick Frost, round up Shaun’s mother (Penelope Wilton) and stepfather (Bill Nighy) as well as Liz and her friends David (Dylan Moran) and Diane (Lucy Davis) and decide to head to the safest place they can think of; the local pub. There one of the funniest scenes of the film plays out while the group attempt to subdue the undead pub landlord to the sounds of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. I defy you to keep a straight face during this gem of comedic perfection.
The acting is all round superb, and I especially love Ashfield’s level headed Liz, who does not show any signs of damsel in distress, nor loses her cool but instead stays strong and gets on with the business of surviving. Excessive amounts of blood and gore are not needed in this film, since the dialogue is its biggest plus, but when blood and gore inevitably, of course, appear even that is done in a hilarious manner. Alongside the gore and comedy, the film even has a tender side where human relationships are excellently portrayed in a very real manner, touching on romantic love, friendship and family.
Finally, if a zombie apocalypse should occur and I was given a choice to try and fight off the undead with any film cast, it would be this one. Comedy, bad ass rifles, sarcasm and a pint of beer? Count me in.