Night of the living Brits

Anyone who has been in love can attest to the blinders that the emotion causes. Once you are in love, your job, your family, the friends who helped you get over the last person you thought you loved, heck, the entire world, become an out-of-focus backdrop; a vague point of reference for when you later try to determine when the first kiss, grope, fight, etc. occurred. In fact, sometimes one can get so wrapped up in the matters of the thick red muscle that they don’t notice things of grave importance. Like, say, an invasion of flesh eating zombies. Such is the case in Shaun of the Dead.

The film begins by introducing Shaun, an assistant manager at a small electronics store in England. Shaun lives with two long-time friends, the work-minded bloke, and the couch potato named Ed. He spends most of his free time at the local pub with the latter, where he also occasionally drags his girlfriend, Liz. While he genuinely loves his lady, it seems that his indifference to any sort of forward movement in his life, be it in his job, living arrangements, or in his relationship, has made her decide that she needs to move forward without him. The news of her decision comes as a huge, unexpected blow to the poor dope, who also finds himself coming up short in other social roles: that of “son” on Mother’s Day, while at work he is unable to get even the slightest bit of respect from his underlings. These recent failings cause Shaun to re-evaluate his life. He wanders around in a daze, wondering how to make things right and get Liz back.

As he wanders around in this daze he fails to notice that flesh eating zombies are popping up all over town, ripping apart unsuspecting Brits. It seems a satellite has exploded, and is causing this epidemic of death and resurrection. But as Shaun and Ed recover from the hangovers acquired at the end of Shaun’s re-evaluation, they begin to recognize the threat. Instead of barricading themselves indoors and waiting for rescue, Shaun decides that this is the point he must make changes and begin going after what he truly wants. So the two embark on a journey to save Shaun’s girlfriend, his mum, and safely barricade themselves in the pub as the zombie rampage runs its course. But will it be that simple?

As the title suggests, Shaun of the Dead pays a fair share of homage, not just to the recently remade 70’s classic of undead horror Dawn of the Dead, but also to every vein of popular culture, be it music, video games, or TV talk shows. This postmodern brew, along with a truly witty script, results in a hilarious movie that is able to make American audiences laugh just as much as the British audiences it was first unleashed upon did. But don’t let that make you think this is only a comedy. Indeed, Shaun of the Dead is the first truly successful blend of humor and horror I have seen. The filmmakers, led by co-writer Simon Pegg, who also plays Shaun, is able to mix belly laughs and scares without one ever getting in the way of the other. Audiences who felt cheated by the last British zombie import to play US theaters, the brilliant but lacking 28 Days Later, will find themselves more than satiated by the gory living dead exploits in Shaun. So if you seek a truly hilarious comedy, a suspenseful and gory horror film, or just a good time at the theater, lurch on out to Shaun of the Dead, now in theatres.