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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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Average user rating for Shaun of the Dead
Empire Star Rating

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 of the Dead

Absolutly quality film with a cracking soundtrack and some laugh out loud moments, my other half watched it and thought it was rubbish but it's blatently a blokey film, anyone who has actully stayed up all night playing tekken will love it! Timeless quote: "I'm going down the shops, do you want anything" "...Cornetto" ... More

Posted by macca_c86 at 11:04, 29 December 2006 | Report This Post

Shaun of the dead

Very enjoyable film. However it thinks its funny when its not. Thats not to say none of its funny though. Fun and silly mayhem. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by solid snake at 19:19, 04 December 2006 | Report This Post

Best British Movie Since Trainspotting

A superb script crammed with great dialogue, gags and ideas. The mix of horror and comedy (and "'serious bits'", Kim) works perfectly (the final punchline is a great example); and the performances are also spot on. This film wil last. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by badsanta at 01:22, 05 August 2006 | Report This Post

Absoutly brilliant!

This film... WOW!!! No words can really describe its amazingness!!! It was a rom-com-zom really! It had romance for the ladies, comedy for the Jim Carrey's out there and blood and cuts for the men! IT WAS JUST AN AMAZING FILM! If I ever meet Simon Pegg I will shake him by the hand and say well done! Anyone who doesn't like this film at all should be shot dead on site! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Empo at 10:17, 03 May 2006 | Report This Post


The Best Film Of 2004 and One Of My All Time Faves. Thats all there is to say. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PaulJohn at 01:09, 01 May 2006 | Report This Post

Fine film from the boys from Spaced ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cujo at 12:56, 30 March 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

shaun is dead good!

one of the very few films i saw in 2004 and i only saw it to pass some time til my dentist appointment and boy did it entertain me! the guys beating the pub landlord up to queens 'dont stop me now'. comedy genius!! its just a shame there arent many decent british comedys out there now shaun seems to be one of those rare films. and it also proves bill nighy and simon pegg are two unbelievably underrated actors. killer film!!,but i hated the ending though. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sweet at 20:26, 02 January 2006 | Report This Post

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