Sunday, September 26, 2004

Movie Review: Shaun of the Dead

This is flat-out the most fun movie I've seen in a long time. An import out of the UK, Shaun of the Dead is the story of Shaun, a 29 year old slacker with a dead-end service industry job, a roommate who's an even bigger slacker than he is, and a girlfriend who's just about run out of patience with him.

Enter the living dead. Groaning, slack jawed zombies start lumbering through the streets of London ... which apparently isn't much of a change from Shaun's normal life. For quite a bit of the movie, Shaun and his roommate Ed walk right by people dropping dead, feasting on human flesh, or running for their lives, without it registering at all.

Now, Zombie spoofs are a genre all their own, with terrific entries such as Evil Dead (the films that made Bruce Campbell a cult favorite) and Dead Alive (directorial effort by a pre-Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson) that almost outnumber the straight-faced horror stories (three different versions of Dawn of the Dead and counting, the recent Resident Evil series).

Shaun of the Dead succeeds by having something different to say. More than a spoof of horror movies, this is a spoof of normal life -- half-asleep people dozing through mindless jobs and numbing routines. It literally takes the end of the world to wake Shaun out of his stupor, and give his life some focus.

Along the way, Shaun of the Dead offers some genuine chills and powerful belly-laughs. Highly recommended.

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