In 1999, during their early careers, Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright worked on a British sitcom called, “Spaced.” As they came up with an idea for Simon’s character who thinks there’s a zombie apocalypse while on drugs. After Spaced ended, the pair went on to collaborate beginning with a zombie parody inspired by their love of zombie films is none other than “Shaun of the Dead.” It took them three years for the script to be purchased by Universal Pictures after production companies rejected it. Once the film is greenlit, Simon portrays the titular character, Edgar works behind the camera as director and their pal Nick Frost signed to play Shaun’s best friend, Ed.
Shaun of the Dead was officially released in 2004. (same year Saw came out) It received positive reviews from critics and movie goers alike. In addition to praise, the film made enough money at the box office. Quentin Tarantino & Stephen King mentioned Shaun of the Dead as one of their favorite films. After its release, Shaun of the Dead remains as a cult classic. As a Halloween tradition, I always watch this movie every October.
Simon Pegg’s upcoming project is the highly anticipated two-part finale, “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning” slated to come out in 2023 and 2024. Rumor has it, Edgar Wright wants to do a remake of “The Running Man.” To prepare for the aforementioned upcoming films, I wanna share my thoughts on Shaun of the Dead. I’ll be reviewing selective horror films during October 2022.
Today’s review contains no SPOILERS. I’m giving some of you a chance to see this timeless gem.
Alive & Dead Aspects
Alive: Simon Pegg & Nick Frost both did an excellent job for their respective performances as Shaun & Ed.
Bill Nighy also appears as Shaun’s stepdad, Philip. Mr. Nighy later appeared in “Hot Fuzz.”
Edgar Wright did a fantastic job directing. He and Simon co-wrote the script filled with memorable quotes.
Humor contains legit laughs. Unlike Aaron Seltzer & Jason Friedberg, you can tell Edgar is passionate on zombie films. He never shoves a quick “do you remember this movie” down your throat. They also poke fun at using the word, zombie.
Cinematography captured visual gags, steady movement and quick editing techniques.
Chemistry between Shaun & Ed serves as the main highlight.
Practial Effects were heavily involved to bring zombies to life.
Pacing never felt slow or fast for a 99-minute film.
Besides George Romero’s zombie movies, Edgar mentioned other films influenced by Shaun of the Dead are “Back to the Future” & “Raising Arizona.”
My favorite part is when Shaun and the others beat up a zombie with each hit synchronized to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” Edgar later synchronized action and music in “Baby Driver.”
Countless Extras dressed as zombies, are actually fans of Spaced.
Although labeled a parody, the film has some legit bittersweet moments.
Instead of finding shelter at a shopping mall, our heroes choose their favorite place, The Winchester. Due to popularity the tavern became a landmark.
A recurring element is an ice cream brand called, “Cornetto.” Edgar Wright confirmed each flavor represents a primary theme in each film for his trilogy, “The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy.” Red for blood in Shaun of The Dead, Blue for police in Hot Fuzz, and Green for aliens in The World’s End.
If you have a keen eye, Chris Martin & Johnny Buckland makes a cameo appearance. They’re good friends with Edgar, Simon & Nick.
Martin Freeman, Dylan Moran, Julia Deaken, Reece Shearsmith & Tamsin Grieg make cameo appearances.
If you own a DVD/Blu-Ray copy of the movie, Simon & Edgar provide audio commentary sharing their thoughts on processing the story.
Upon first viewing, the movie is rewatchable for subtle foreshadowing.
Dead: I couldn’t find nothing wrong. I’m giving the Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a flawless zombie parody as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
Shaun of the Dead is ranked number two on one of my all-time favorite zombie films. “28 Days Later” is ranked third and last but not least Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” as my number one pick. All three zombie films aged like fine wine. If you wanna get into the Halloween mood, I strongly recommend these timeless classics.