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Simon Pegg
Nick Frost
Bill Nighy
Dylan Moran
Penelope Wilton.
Edgar Wright.
Edgar Wright
Simon Pegg.
Running Time
100 minutes

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Shaun of the Dead

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Shaun, a North London loser, is a disappointment to his girlfriend, family, friends and flatmate. Only his mate Ed, an even bigger loser, looks up to him. Then flesh-eating zombies overrun the city and Shaun is forced to take responsibility for the survival of his corner of humanity…

Somewhere out there is a movie graveyard for the careers of British comedians — successful in home entertainment — who died a death trying to make an impact on the big screen. For every break-out Peter Sellers or John Cleese there are a dozen disappointments, as national institutions such as Morecambe and Wise, Smith and Jones, and… um, Cannon and Ball land with a thud.

In Shaun Of The Dead, director-writer Edgar Wright and star-writer Simon Pegg — plus many of their mates from the innovative Channel 4 sitcom Spaced — spin off a Resident Evil sketch wrapped-up inside five minutes in one episode into a whole feature.

This is a rare TV-to-film transfer that retains the things you liked on television but still comes on like a proper (if low-budget and shambolic) movie. A difference between American crazy comedy and the British variety is that Hollywood always puts out pretend losers as leads — in Bruce Almighty, for instance, we’re supposed to accept Jim Carrey as a failure, though he has a job on television and is living with Jennifer Aniston; Pegg’ s Shaun watches a lot of television and is living with a friend from college
who hates the friend from primary school who’s on a permanent visit.

The point is not to make you feel good, but to prompt laughs of horrified recognition that we really are like that. The basic joke is that Shaun stumbles zombie-like through his regular life, not paying attention to the Night Of The Living Dead crisis taking place in the background, but shapes up when society falls apart and, though still essentially useless, becomes the best chance his friends have to survive (most of them, it’s fair to say, don’t).

It’s a workable premise and the early scenes, with unnoticed zombies on buses, working checkout tills or snogging in the street, are creepy-funny. But the film gets impatient (especially in two or three awkward ‘serious’ bits) and eventually winds up down the pub, with beer on the table, inappropriate music on an apparently malign jukebox and hordes of zombie flesh-eaters hammering at the doors as idiot Ed (Nick Frost) tries to cheer up his just-dumped mate with, “It’s not the end of the world.”

A surprisingly good TV transfer for the Spaced crew. It may not exactly be Ealing, but it’s funny for long stretches. Even when in danger of self-destructing, it cadges laughs with smart lines, silly observations or blokish inside jokes about zombie movies, video games and pub nibbles.

Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Shaun of the Dead
Empire Star Rating

Probably the funniest and maybe one of the scariest movies I've seen

Brillinat ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dahenster at 08:24, 01 June 2015 | Report This Post

RE: Shaun of the Dead

A very good film. A nice rip off of Zombies.   Very Funny. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are legends. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shool at 14:47, 03 September 2007 | Report This Post


Think you're fully justified maffew.  Mr Doom, work on your social skills because you're going to piss people off. ... More

Posted by Wedge at 20:48, 09 January 2007 | Report This Post


L: mrdoom14 Not terrible but not that great either.Funny at times and enjoyable with some good humure , but in a very silly concept.But the film is not as  hilarious as it thinks and dose not have much more brains than a zombie. can see you spilled your soul in to it. yes, i will try and spend a little more time really reading the reviews people slave over, rather than trying to incite debate - coz y'know its only a film forum - who wants to actually ] about the films? and yes, i'll... More

Posted by maffew at 15:21, 09 January 2007 | Report This Post


m is not very smartote]very smart, as zombie films go, actually - in a genre filled with mindless violence and bad scripts, it was a breath of fresh air to watch something that had actually been thought about.   t understanding my reviewote]e=2]i've read it a few times, and i think i see what i misunderstod - perhaps if you paid a little more attention to what you were writing, people wouldn't misconstrue your points.e=2] i'll question whoevers reviews i please, thank you. ... More

Posted by maffew at 15:34, 06 January 2007 | Report This Post


rible but not that great either.Funny at times and enjoyable with some good humure , but in a very silly concept.But the film is not as  hilarious as it thinks and dose not have much more brains than a zombie. very silly concept? what, zombies? i dont think the film nor its makers think its 'hilarious' - its not the films arrogance i have a problem with, its the waves of teenagers that laugh whenever a not even remotly funny clip is shown, simply because its a horror film made by com... More

Posted by maffew at 11:15, 04 January 2007 | Report This Post


L: cbreeze the comedy in this film is different to other films, it is simple. little things like Ed winding the film on, or calling "oi, prick" up the stairs, they are simple things that keep the film going. without these simple things the more complex things in the film wouldn't function. and then there is the subject of the film, it is just bound to be funny, and delivers. i have no idea what you just said..   is Shaun hilarious though? is it really a piss your pants till the... More

Posted by maffew at 19:41, 03 January 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Shaun of the Dead

A fantastic British comedy.  This film is responsible for me breaking into fits of laughter every time 'Don't stop me know' comes on the radio.  The dvd has some very funny extras too.  ... More

Posted by Lazy wolf eyes at 18:38, 03 January 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Shaun of the Dead

No where near as funny as it thinks it is but the horror element in the second half is nicely played in a low budget kind of way.  I just hope Hot Fuzz can stand up to the comedy shown in the trailer and not be a different beast to that advertised. ... More

Posted by sanchia at 01:33, 31 December 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Shaun of the Dead

The Spaced team do it again. Let's hope Hot Fuzz can at i] match this work of genius! 5/5 ... More

Posted by BobaJango at 21:34, 30 December 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Shaun of the Dead

I loved it. Not only for its humour and unexpected emotion, but because it led me to Spaced. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Hex at 20:35, 30 December 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Shaun of the Dead

It is immense ... More

Posted by 24Dan at 20:30, 30 December 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Shaun of the Dead

Everything I think about this film has been said. To me this is the best british comedy film (Four Weddings and a funeral can eat my arsehole). It is definatley my favourite comedy film. One thing I got chessed off at, was I was telling my mate* how funny this film was, and I lent it to him, when he gave it back I asked what he thought of it, and he said it was shit!!!. I asked why, and he said it was too white???   *Who is Asian ... More

Posted by BatFan at 00:36, 30 December 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Shaun of the Dead

great little film, with the only gripe being that it doesnt balance itself too well at times in terms of comedy/seriousness, but its just a minor gripe. Stands up well to repeated viewings. Nick Frost is the star of it for me. "its not hip hop, its electro" 4/5 ... More

Posted by boot at 23:09, 29 December 2006 | Report This Post

RE: shaun is dead good!

Shaun Of The Dead...well, what can I say other than this film is brilliant!!   I was pleasantly surprised after seeing this at the cinema, this is a vintage British comedy. Every character is played to perfection, from Nick Frost's lazy unemployed slob Ed, to Bill Nighy's strict dad (not dad, STEP-dad).   The film is full of quotes and one-liners that will be etched in the memory of comedy lovers, like the repeated line "You've got red on you".   SOTD takes a lot of i... More

Posted by johndoe at 15:34, 02 February 2006 | Report This Post

RE: shaun is dead good!

Possibly the best British horror movie to come out in years. And possibly the best British comedy to come out in years.   The more I watch Shaun of the Dead, the more I love it. Never has a film demanded more repeat viewing as this. And each time it never fails to make me laugh and wince in equal amounts.   It’s pure Pegg and Wright genius, each line is spot on and each shot is spot on. The real hero of the film is Nick Frost, who I’d never really thought about before, but he ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tbird at 15:19, 02 February 2006 | Report This Post

RE: shaun is dead good!

been a Spaced fan for years, I knew this would be brilliant and every aspect of the film is dripped in fan culture and modern referencing.t=verdana] often don't mention the emotional core at the heart of this film, the scene in which Shaun is wondering whether to take out his mum is heart breaking.p; ting is excellent, the pacing, acting, everything about this film is amazing. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JIm R at 14:31, 02 February 2006 | Report This Post

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