How have I not done a writeup about this movie yet?
If you’ve ever been on a crowded train you know what this poster is all about. Living in Tokyo I am regularly confronted with trains that look exactly like this door. People pressed to the doors and windows, unable to move save for a short shuffle or twitch; faces pressed to the window, starting dead-eyed out the windows groaning. And being on the train, you really do feel like you’re just surrounded by zombies.
Shaun of the Dead is incredible because of Simon Pegg. He always seems to me like the working class comedian. Other comedians or celebrities are good at making it look like it’s easy. When I see Simon Pegg, I see a guy who worked wicked hard to get where he is and is still working hard even though he’s also sort of enjoying the ride.
In one interview with Pegg he described being at Comi-Con and bumping into Carrie Fischer and nearly losing his shit because he’d had such a crush on her as a kid. I mean, how many of us haven’t had that sort of feeling. Pegg’s a regular bloke.
The story revolves around Shaun, a thirty-something guy who hasn’t got his shit together. He’s got a great girl he under appreciates, a best friend he over appreciates, a job he hates, and potential he never chases. (Not unlike a lot of people.) It’s time for Shaun to get his life on track but it literally takes the end of the world to get him moving.
– The movie is full of little tips of the hat to other great zombie movies like the space probe we hear about on the radio which comes from Night of the Living Dead and the quick cuts a la Evil Dead that liven up the breakfast scene. Also, although we never see him, Shaun’s boss is named Ash. Another nice homage to Evil Dead. Oh and lest I forget the restaurant Shaun was meant to take Liz to was called Fulci’s. A clear reference to the Italian director. (And if you don’t know who he is, you’re reading the wrong blog.)
And apparently Romero was so happy with Shaun of the Dead he invited Pegg and Steven Wright to play zombies in Land of the Dead.
Looking about I found a lot of little things like this connected to the film. There are plenty of cameos by people Pegg has worked with particularly on the show Spaced. I haven’t seen it myself though so if you have, keep an eye out for the bike messenger.
If it’s your first time watching this, you might notice something odd about a scene where Shaun’s group pass another group of survivors. There’s always been something a bit odd about that scene to me and it was only recently that I found out what it was. The actors in that scene have all played opposite one another on other shows.
• 6 + 7: Simon Pegg and Jessica Hyne played Tim and Daisy on Spaced.
• 3 + 8: Lucy Davis and Martin Freeman played Dawn and Tim on The Office.
• 4 + 18: Dylan Moran and Tamsin Greig played Bernard and Fran on Black Books.
Despite being the hyper critical person I am, I find it hard to really find fault with this movie. Perhaps one small complaint would be that the humor, isn’t actually particularly funny. It’s all just a bit predictable.
Despite the fact this is a zombie comedy, by the end they pull pretty hard on some of our heartstrings. You can’t tell a story like this without people dyeing, but emotionally, they make it hurt.