Flutterby™! : Shaun of the Dead

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Shaun of the Dead

2004-09-26 20:49:44.101618+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Full day yesterday. Biked to Millbrae to Ken and Roger's house, where we hung out with the ex-Alvanon folks, came home, went to see Shaun of the Dead with Bill, and then 'cause Charlene said "I can't sleep immediately after seeing that", went down to Cafe Amsterdam[Wiki] for Ruckus[Wiki].

So, excellent day, Ken's cheesecake was incredible, two and a half hours of Ruckus[Wiki] rocked, but let's talk for a moment about Shaun of the Dead.

So you have a couple of slackers stumbling their way through life. Something (we see snippets of the news behind them and as they flip through channels) happens, and zombies occur. It's part horror film, part romance, part comedy, part social satire, and it works on all of those levels. Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a slacker about to hit 30, stumbling his way through a dead-end electronics salesman job while defending his couch-surfing friend Ed (Nick Frost) and trying to spend as much time drinking beer at the pub as he can. Liz (Kate Ashfield), his girlfriend, wants more out of life. And it takes all hell breaking loose to move Shaun to be the sort of take-charge person she can respect.

One of the things that makes the lead-in to the actual gore creepy is the social commentary, as Shaun goes through life oblivious to what's happening around him we're never sure when the zombification of the neighborhood has really started. And the film plays up the similes between horror movie and real life wonderfully, to my mind peaking in one scene involving flickering lights and a horde of approaching zombies that looks remarkably like a crowd shot at your average concert. Sometimes the satire is more subtle, sometimes more heavy-handed, but luckily the film never stoops to self-parody. It plays the plight of Shaun, Ed, Liz, and a cast of supporting folks as they struggle to find safety at the pub straight, and while the humor is sometimes about realizing that these situations are indeed the rational responses to the horror movie clichés, and sometimes we laugh at the characters, I still found the people sympathetic and believable.

Bill, I and others in the audience spontaneously applauded when the credits rolled, and I walked out smiling, saying "that movie was wrong on so many levels", but those levels are the same ways in which In-a-gadda-da-Oswald is "so wrong", it reveals things we'd rather stay hidden.

And it works. Really well. Recommended, unless you're really turned off by graphic gore, and then maybe you should see it for the other three aspects of it and expect to go hang out and listen to Ruckus[Wiki] for a few hours so you don't sleep on images of intestines being eaten.

[ related topics: Humor Movies Sociology ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Shaun: made: 2004-09-29 23:33:26.662247+00 by: ghasty

I agree totally with the review...saw the film a while back by BitTorrant means at a friends house and thought it was brilliantly done...