The best zombie movie this side of the century is a comedy. So we all have seen the hero’s story in the zombie apocalypse. How about just a regular guy? This is about Shaun (Simon Pegg) a man who is at a turning point in his life. He tries to sort out his personal relationships while also coping with the end of the world. If you have read my review for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, you are already well aware of what a giant fan I am of Edgar Wright. He still has yet to make a misstep in my eyes, and I celebrate the man’s entire library. Every so often I will go back to where it begin, the start of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, or, more specifically, the best zom-rom-com ever made, Shaun of the Dead. It still holds up, and it is as uproariously funny today as it was back in 2004.
Kill the Queen!
If you have seen this multiple times like I have, the thing that is most easy to appreciate is how brilliantly layered it is. Edgar Wright knows how to set up a recurring joke, as well as what will make for a good payoff, so unless you have a broken funny bone, this is sure to make you laugh. The reason why every single movie in this series works as great as it does is because everybody involved clearly harbors an adoration for the material that is being poked fun at. I will frequently kvetch about how lazy the parody movie usually is, and you need not look any further than the movies made by the unholy Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer to see why I complain. Edgar Wright shows you that it is simply a matter of creativity and inspiration, and this is truly how you do it. The wonderful thing about all these movies is they start off simply as parody, but then they slowly become the genre that they are riffing, which is a testament to how much they love the originators.
And it all makes sense in the story that is being told.
Just like in every single Edgar Wright movie, the editing is stupifyingly brilliant, and it is cut to be as tight as cinematically possible. It really helps to punctuate all the jokes, and there isn’t a single misfire to be found. It is jam packed with as many gags as possible, so getting bored isn’t even an option. I love how the zombie apocalypse happens in the background before the foreground, and because of how unobservant our main character is, he doesn’t even notice until it is in full swing. This was Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s first taste of mainstream, and I will forever love this movie for it.
Shaun of the Dead (2004) *****
– Critic for Hire