DIRECTOR: Edgar Wright
May Contain Spoilers!
The beginning of the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost movie franchise, as it were, was an unconventional comedy take on a well-worn genre. Shaun Of The Dead, a literal pun on Dawn Of The Dead, which was also remade that year, follows some everyday losers make their way through London on the day that sees the dead rise from their graves and eat people’s brains.
The simplistic beauty of this film is that it both takes it self seriously but does so through some well convinced and funny characters. Simon Pegg is the voice of sanity as the every-man who works in an electronics store by day and bums around with his best mate, Frost, by night, to the detriment of his relationship with girlfriend who has dumped him, again!
This dynamic is very real and yet played for laughs. This grounding serves to maintain the weight of the plot and our faith in the characters as we follow them on their journey through the fallen city, to try to survive the day, whilst spatter gore fills the screen. This is a bit of a strange one really, both funny, gentle and raucous all at the same time, but culminating with a scene which not only secured this a s British classic, but also served as proof that Pegg was more than just a comedic TV actor.
The moment is when he is forced to kill his own mother in order to save her from becoming a Zombie and in turn, save the group. The scene is played for absurdity as much as laughs or tears, but it is well conceived and directed by Wright, and well as acted by all involved. Shaun Of The Dead is a playlist of elements to be included in a black comedy, from geek-sheik, obscure and well know social references and a solid believe in the subject matter. Wright and the crew are making a real zombie movie, it just happens to funny as well, and as is the way with all great comedy, it must take itself seriously.
It rarely laughs at it self, though there are few self-referencial moments, but this is British comedy writing at it’s very best and has secured this film as a modern classic, almost immediately.