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Shaun of the Dead (15)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary from Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. Audio commentary from actors Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Dylan Moran, Kate Ashfield and Lucy Davis. Audio commentary from actors Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton. Audio commentary from the zombies. Extended bits with audio commentary. Outtakes. The Man Who Would Be Shaun: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost impersonate Sean Connery and Michael Caine. Plotholes: comic strip sequences with voiceover from Lucy Davis, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost including What Happened To Shaun When He Ran Off?/What Happened To Diane When She Left The Winchester?/How Did Ed Get From The Cellar To The Shed? Extended edits of the TV shows within the movie. Remembering Z Day: an interview with Jeremy Thompson. Electronic Press Kit. Vignettes: Simon's cam/Lucy's cam/Joe's diary. Edgar Wright's and Simon Pegg's Flip Chart: presentation of the first draft. SFX comparison. Make-up tests. Photo gallery. Poster designs. 2000AD Strip: There's Something About Mary. TV spots. Official trailer. Official teaser trailer. 'Fright Fest' exclusive trailer. Interactive menu. Scene access.

THE creators of cult TV hit, Spaced, make their bid for big screen super-stardom with a comic spoof of George Romero’s zombie movies, with surprisingly hilarious results.

Billed as ‘a love story, with zombies’, the film finds Simon Pegg’s under-achiever, Shaun, forced to confront his personal and romantic failures, at the same time as a zombie plague hits London, threatening the existence of everyone around him.

Forced to take charge for the first time in his life, Shaun sets about rescuing his mother (Penelope Wilton) and his girlfriend (Kate Ashfield), with the help of his slobbish best friend, Ed (Nick Frost), before heading for his favourite local stomping ground, The Winchester pub, in a bid for safety.

Helping and hindering in equal measure are the likes of his step-father (Bill Nighy), and the friends of his girlfriend, including long-time nemesis, David (Dylan Moran), and his passive girlfriend, Dianne (played by The Office’s Lucy Davis).

The inspiration for Shaun of the Dead came from an early episode of the Spaced series, in which Pegg’s character was trapped in the game, Resident Evil 2, fighting off zombies.

Both Pegg and writer, Edgar Wright, had so much fun doing it, that they immediately resolved to make a full-length zombie feature, which would indulge their passion for film, as well as the horror genre.

Their intention was to create a zombie comedy that was funny in terms of the characters and dialogue, but which stayed true to the horror aspect.

And it is safe to say that they have largely succeeded, turning in a funny, and occasionally horrific, zombie homage, which treads a very satisfying line between the laughter and the chills.

Pegg is brilliant as the unlikely hero of the piece, while his banter with Frost is spot-on, helping to ensure that this little and large duo are worthy of the audiences’ appreciation.

Yet the support cast shines, too, clearly aware of the need to keep tongues firmly rolled into cheeks, and revelling in the opportunities presented by the genre. The in-jokes which helped to make the series such a cult hit among film buffs are also in abundance.

Visually, the film works wonders, with several of the sight gags, early on, providing moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity, particularly as Shaun stumbles about his locality, blissfully unaware of the weirdness surrounding him.

But the nods to Romero’s genre-defining horror classics, as well as to modern fare, such as 28 Days Later and From Dusk Til Dawn, are equally keenly observed and done in an affectionate way, so as not to do them a disservice.

Hence, when the gore kicks in, and the zombies reach their victims, you’ll be screaming with disgust, such is the ‘quality’ of the special effects that accompany them.

And while the film does become a little laboured late on, and the tone a little uneven, viewers should be willing to forgive it such excesses, for this, at the end of the day, is a genuinely enjoyable horror/comedy that marks an all-too rare success story for the British film industry.

Pegg and Wright deserve their acclaim and should rightly be rewarded with strong Box Office returns.

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