Possibly the world’s first romantic zombie comedy, or RomZomCom as the makers will have it, Shaun of the Dead is the first feature film from the writing/directing team behind one of the freshest comedies to hit the small screen in recent years, Spaced.
The writing team of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg have been clever enough to stick to the formula set out in Spaced – late twenty-somethings aimlessly meandering through life with just the detritus of 20 years’ worth of popular culture to signpost the way. Where Shaun of the Dead differs however, is the addition of several 100 flesh-devouring zombies.
So far, so good. Pegg and Wright’s screenplay is as sharp and witty as we’ve come to expect and the transition to the big screen is achieved without any noticeable difficulties. The cast is a veritable Who’s Who of today’s edgier TV comedies, with stars from the aforementioned Spaced joined by the likes of The Office‘s Lucy Davis and Dylan Moran from Black Books.
The film begins in the all too comfortable and smoky surroundings of the Winchester Pub where Shaun is treating his long-suffering girlfriend to yet another night out with his ever-present best friend and worst influence, Ed. Shaun is stuck in a rut of his own making and when his girlfriend Liz snaps and demands a little effort from him he inevitably screws it up. This sets the scene for a long night of drunken self-pity down at the Winchester.
When the boys finally wake up the next day it’s to a whole new world – for a start there’s a dead girl walking around in the garden and the TV is showing scenes of countrywide devastation. Shaun and Ed set off to rescue their friends and family and find refuge in the one place that they will be safe, be on familiar turf and be able to smoke – the Winchester.
Shaun of the Dead genuinely is one of the funniest films I’ve seen at the cinema in recent years, and whilst you’d be hard pressed to call the film scary, it is certainly gory with no expense spared when it comes to the eviscerating of entrails.
My only worry about the film is that it almost seems so perfectly aimed at my generation that the finer points may go by unnoticed by a large majority of filmgoers. Having said that, I’d be amazed if there wasn’t something here to make most people spill their popcorn laughing.