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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Simon Pegg
Nick Frost
Bill Nighy
Dylan Moran
Penelope Wilton.
Directors
Edgar Wright.
Screenwriters
Edgar Wright
Simon Pegg.
Running Time
100 minutes

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Shaun of the Dead


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Plot
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…


Review
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.”


Verdict
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

Best.Film.Ever!!!!!

I first saw this when I was 8. It has been my No. 1 fave film from then on. Every film i see compare to this. Nothing cuts the biscuit. Maybe apart from Gladiator... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cdxbl empire at 20:09, 14 March 2008 | Report This Post


BRILLIANT

probably as funny as the life of brian. Immense ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by udjifudgi at 14:21, 24 February 2008 | Report This Post


It may very well be my favourite British comedy out there

Shaun of the Dead had cult classic written all over it when it came out. Now its starting to become a proper modern classic. I actually saw this 3 times in the cinema when it came out back in '04. Brilliant one-liners and classic scenes like the LP bombard and the pool-cue fight to Queen. I love this film to death. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by alsybroth at 21:01, 05 February 2008 | Report This Post


Overated

im a huge fan of romero and was hoping this was going to be good. sorry but it was twattish and dull PETER JACKSON'S BRAINDEAD is miles better ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Horrorguru at 23:26, 11 January 2008 | Report This Post


Unbalanced

Just watched this film recently and thought it was pretty good but flawed. The comedy element was great while it lasted but what really hurts this film is when the tone changes from a comedy taking the piss out of zombies, to actually wanting to be a hardcore zombie movie and for me just doesnt work. Infact i think it goes overboard and im surprised with the certificate it got. One scene in the pub was truly horrific. If they had of kept the laid back comedy element running throughout then i thi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Marty5 at 16:23, 13 October 2007 | Report This Post


Really funny film and with a few decent bits for the gore-hounds too ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by garryellis at 18:18, 25 September 2007 | Report This Post


Really funny film and with a few decent bits for the gore-hounds too ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by garryellis at 18:18, 25 September 2007 | 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


Brilliant British Fun!

Up there with Dog Soldiers and American Werewolf in London, yet funnier. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dhollseed at 03:49, 18 August 2007 | Report This Post


Wow!

One of the best comedies ever made! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jamdodge1 at 15:03, 27 June 2007 | Report This Post


Wow!

One of the best comedies ever made! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jamdodge1 at 15:03, 27 June 2007 | Report This Post


Fantastic!!!

Could any film be better written, better casted or even with any more action, laughs and tears? I DON'T THINK SO!!!! This film has everything that you could possibly ask for! It's a rom-com-zom!!!! Absoutly Fantastics!!!! Empire you tight arses GIVE IT FIVE STARS!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Empo at 09:47, 06 March 2007 | Report This Post


Fantastic!!!

Could any film be better written, better casted or even with any more action, laughs and tears? I DON'T THINK SO!!!! This film has everything that you could possibly ask for! It's a rom-com-zom!!!! Absoutly Fantastics!!!! Empire you tight arses GIVE IT FIVE STARS!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Empo at 09:47, 06 March 2007 | Report This Post


brilliant the best comedy ever!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by casino at 22:04, 17 January 2007 | Report This Post


... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by meeshi at 12:12, 10 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

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


RE: RE:

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


RE: RE:

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


RE: RE:

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


RE:

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


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