Shaun of the Dead Review

Edgar Wright is one of my favorite directors. Everything I’ve seen him do, I’ve loved. It’s fortunate to say that the streak continues with Shaun of the Dead. Obviously.

Shaun of the Dead is a parody of zombie movies. Instead of just settling for that, it is also one of the best zombie movies I’ve ever seen. In terms of what you’d want in a zombie flick, it’s got everything. It’s got gore, it’s got horror, an innumerable amount of zombies, blunt force trauma, guns, everything. In addition, it has probably the best setup to the zombie apocalypse I’ve ever seen. The way it hides the beginning of the event in the background rather than showing us some awful montage of news footage, the movie hides it in the background, like if we were looking at it through the eyes of an oblivious citizen. It also has characters that act like people (I’m looking at you, The Void,) who, instead of deciding to do the dumbest thing they can think of, they actually consider multiple plans, as well as their pros and cons. Characters will think on their feet, so when something goes wrong, they adapt to it easily and efficiently. Whenever they’re cornered, you don’t feel as if it was something easily avoidable. And if it was avoidable, you understand why it wasn’t prevented, because each character’s decisions feel natural and justified.

Expanding further on the characters, they’re all wonderful to watch, especially Shaun and Ed (played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, respectively.) All of them are well-defined through their actions, not through dialogue spouted by some old guy (I’m still looking at you, The Void.) The other main four are developed well enough so we care, but not to the point where they take time away from the movie that could be used for something more valuable. Even before some of them are on screen for more than two seconds, they’re receiving development through other characters’ dialogue, but not in the way The Void did it. Whenever someone else is talked about, there’s always another objective to the conversation. I really appreciate that. Veiling development, foreshadowing, or anything relating to the plot or a character within a scene that has another motive is something I wish more movies would do. Even if done poorly, it’s at least an attempt at cleverly developing anything, rather than outright speaking to the audience about a character. Shaun of the Dead is exceptional at veiled development.

As I think further about this film, I find it more and more difficult to think of a substantial flaw. This isn’t a situation like Pete’s Dragon, where there isn’t anything overtly objectionable about it, but it also doesn’t do anything worth appreciating, creating a horrifyingly boring project. No, Shaun is far from boring. Its’ excellent tension and well-crafted humor make this a ride that I didn’t want to end. Edgar Wright has a distinctive directing style that I just love. Zoom-ins are rarely utilized as well as Wright’s, his long takes are always incredibly well-calculated but never feel robotic, the way he synchronizes sound with actions happening on screen is incredible, I just adore his direction in everything he’s done. I’ve heard people say they like Hot Fuzz better, and that’s okay. Hot Fuzz and Shaun are two completely different genres, and everyone has their preferences on what they like to watch. So, keep in mind, the difference between Hot Fuzz and Shaun’s scores is only one point, and I find both of them to be incredible masterworks by a filmmaker with an immaculate track record.

10/10.

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