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For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

photo caption:
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS!: Liz (Kate Ashfield, left), Shaun (Simon Pegg), and Ed (Nick Frost) each chooses what he or she considers to be the most effective weapon to combat the flesh-eating zombies that have invaded London.
end caption.

"Shaun of the Dead": Laughs and Gore Galore in British Spoof of Zombie Genre

Review by Kam Williams

Given the success of the Scary Movie franchise, with a 4th installment already in pre-production, it should come as no surprise that others might attempt to cash in on the horror spoof fad. What is unusual about Shaun of the Dead, however, is that it is far more than a "take-the-money-and-run" rip-off. In fact, it's a funnier film than any in the Scary Movie series.

British director Edgar Wright (Fistful of Fingers) specifically chose to spoof the zombie film genre, paying homage to the legendary George Romero's low-budget trilogy which included Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead. As a result, this picture turned out far more focused than earlier scattershot comedies which simultaneously lampooned a smorgasbord of horror flicks.

Wright's collaboration on the script with his star, Simon Pegg (The Reckoning), paid-off, because they have produced a witty screenplay. In the title role of Shaun, Pegg plays a 29 year-old assistant manager at Foree Electronics, a retail chain store located in London. (Trivia fans will note that "Foree" is a subtle reference to actor Ken Foree of Dawn of the Dead, one of many clever allusions to be enjoyed along the way.)

As the movie opens we meet Shaun, a slacker who has coasted through life. As a result, he has a hard time commanding the respect of the teens he manages at work. He's about to be dumped by his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield), who has grown impatient with waiting for her beau to grow up.

All he has left is the companionship of his best friend, Ed (Nick Frost), who shares Shaun's fondness for hoisting pints of brew at the local pub. Then, just when it looks like things couldn't get any worse, the dead start returning to life as slow-moving, flesh-eating cannibals.

Shaun is so jaded by his daily routine that, at first, he fails to notice the unfolding calamity, despite innumerable indicators right in his midst. What an inspired idea to have a protagonist so blasé that he unwittingly appears to be a zombie himself!

When Shaun becomes aware of the threat, he snaps out of his doldrums and, wielding a wicked cricket bat, makes the most of the chance at heroics. Teaming with Ed, he hatches a plan to save his mother and ex-girlfriend and to barricade themselves in the pub, despite dire official warnings not to venture outside among the hordes of cannibals.

Shaun of the Dead is not for the faint of heart. It's as gory as any slasher movie.

Excellent (4 stars). Rated R for profanity and gore. Running time: 99 minutes.

end of review.

For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.


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