Stuff I Watch in October: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Predator (1987)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Crow (1994)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Scream (1996)
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Scream 2 (1997)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
What Lies Beneath (2000)
Scream 3 (2000)
28 Days Later (2002)
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
The Ring (2002)
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Identity (2003)
AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

shaun of the dead

DIRECTOR: Edgar Wright, a director who doesn’t know how to make a bad film. He would go on to make two more films in this “trilogy”, Hot Fuzz and At the World’s End, as well as the insanely beautiful and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and the fun action flick, Baby Driver.

WHAT IS IT?: After a slough of zombie flicks that piggy-backed off of the success of 28 Days Later, we got on that, once again, turned the genre on its head: a zombie comedy.

THE PLOT: Shaun (Simon Pegg) has no drive. He’s a retail worker whose employees pretty much have no respect for him. His girlfriend can barely stand him and stepfather also hates him. With nothing left, he and his friend Ed (Nick Frost) drink and play video games to drown his sorrows — but even that drives their well-to-do roommate Pete to lay into the two of them for being lazy, with no mercy.

Unbeknownst to Shaun, Ed or anyone in their circle, some sort of viral outbreak has been brewing in the background — and, by morning, it has become a full-blown zombie apocalypse. At first, Shaun and Ed are too lazy to notice what’s going on but after killing a couple zombies near their apartment, they realize their purpose in life and spring into action to not only save their own lives but the lives of the people they love.

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: The film received universal critical acclaim from the script to the characterizations to the very real (and surprising) emotional heft of the film, to the wacky style and wry British wit and humor.

WHAT DID I THINK?: “Shaun of the Dead” was a surprise. Capitalizing on the recent resurgence in popularity of zombie movies, the film gives us a zombie film with all the blood, guts, and gore you’ve come to expect from a George Romero zombie film — but with an insane amount of belly laughs and humor.

This hybrid film was directed by Edgar Wright and written by him and star Simon Pegg. Wright, who would go on to give us the incredible action film, Hot Fuzz as well as the gorgeous work of art, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, injects the film with style, utilizing quick cuts and zooms and gives us characters we can relate with.

My only gripe is that the film becomes somewhat uneven near the end and drops the laughs to become a serious horror film — even though that’s undercut with a brighter, happier finale.

Regardless, “Shaun of the Dead” has heart and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to get their comedy horror fix.


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