El Bicho's Hive

A Collection of Reviews Covering the Worlds of Art and Entertainment alongside other Snobbish Ramblings.

Friday, September 24, 2004


Directed by Edgar Wright
Written by Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright

Shaun Of The Dead is a brilliant piece of filmmaking that is so good it’s scary. It starts out like your typical British import a la The Full Monty. Shaun is a bit of slacker, the type who needs to be reminded by his stepfather about visiting his mum. He hangs out all the time with Ed, his best friend from primary school. Considering that they’re 29, this puts a strain on Shaun’s relationship with his girlfriend, Liz, who is tired of going to the same pub every night. Shaun promises to straighten up his act by planning a proper date with Liz, but when he screws that up, she breaks up with him. Shaun wants her back and is determined to get her, but the great thing about this romantic comedy is set in a zombie movie.

The script is amazing. Rather than rush into the gore like most horror films, we spend a lot of time learning about these characters, so we care what happens to them. The dialogue is hysterical and is sure to soon make its way into minds and out of the mouths of film geeks everywhere. You’ll never hear the words “I’m sorry” the same way again. There’s even some social commentary about the zombies we have become. Pay attention to the opening credits.

The direction is outstanding and if it weren’t for the subject matter, everyone who gives out awards would recognize Wright’s work. His camera placement choices work to great effect as the shots slowly reveal all that is happening in the scene, adding to the suspense and humor. The editing also excels and is very effective. From the short, jump-cut montage transitions that quickly move the movie along to the brilliant use of music, especially Queen. I don’t want to blow it, but you’ll know the scene when it comes on.

The beauty of this movie is that the characters are so self absorbed with their ordinary lives and problems that it takes them a while to realize that the undead walk among them. This is slowly revealed to the viewer if you pay attention to what’s happening in the background of scenes.

It’s too bad that the marketing and title sequence had to reveal the subject matter of the film up front. I understand it’s called show business and the producers want to make sure they reach their audience, but there’s something wonderful about discovering things on your own.

I could go on raving about the film and how great the actors are and all the funny moments, but the less said the better it will be for you. Run to the theatre as quickly as you can.

With the scariest time of the year approaching (No, I don’t mean the Presidential election), it’s great to have a fun, scary film in the theaters. Bring your friends because you’re going to want them to see this with you. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself seeing this in the theatre more than once. I predict that in weekends to come there will always be a midnight showing of this film somewhere across the country. I guarantee its cult classic status and plan on seeing it a number of times, especially if I get bitten by a zombie and become one of the undead.