Best Movies of All Time + [Simon Pegg]

DVD Challenge #17: SHAUN OF THE DEAD

Shaun of the Dead
2004
R
Run-time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Directed by: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Penelope Wilton, Bill Nighy

When I first heard about Shaun of the Dead back in 2004, I honestly wasn't quite sure exactly what I should be expecting. The trailers made the film seem like a straight-out comedy, and with a tagline like, "A romantic comedy. With zombies," I didn't think there'd be too much in terms of actual horror. And while the film doesn't offer much in terms of scares, it definitely brings quite a bit in terms of gore. I remember seeing the film for the first time in theaters with my mother and younger sister, who wanted to see the movie because the titular character spelled his name the same way that I do, and I remember their aghast reaction at some of the events on-screen. I,

however, found the film to be fantastic, and it quickly earned a special place in my list of favorite films.

Shaun of the Dead was the first real introduction I, as well as much of the rest of the public, had to the comedic stylings of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who have gone on to craft two more films together (2007's Hot Fuzz and 2011's Paul). Of the three films, it's not much of a stretch to say that Shaun of the Dead is the best, and that's saying quite a bit considering I review the other films rather favorably as well.

As some of you may know, I'm a bit of a sucker for films that are able to come full circle. Writers Pegg and Wright manage to do this extremely well with Shaun of the Dead, even down to bringing minute and fleeting jokes from the first act back to the climactic moments. The comedy they bring is also a bit fresher than your standard comedy nowadays, and I'm not sure whether it's the British inclinations or just the way that craft and deliver the lines. A lot has to be said about the acting in the film because the cast is able to deliver the dialogue in near-perfect fashion. Each individual inhabits their character and remains with that personality throughout the entire film, making everything completely believable. Obviously, Pegg and Frost steal the

show, but if you're paying attention, there's some great performances and fantastic one-liners from the likes of Dylan Moran and Bill Nighy in his limited role.

One of the things I didn't really notice the first time I saw the film was the use of music. It's shown that Shaun and Ed - Pegg and Frost's characters, respectively - use music as a form of stress relief from time to time, and those scenes add a bit of comedy to the film. However, the music is so well-placed that it's almost unfair how clever it all works within the constructs of the movie. I think many would agree that the best use of music in the film has to be the inclusion of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now." I've included the clip below, so maybe you'll see what I mean:

At the end of the day, Shaun of the Dead is one of the freshest, most entertaining comedies you're likely to see, and it only gets better with additional viewings. While it's not the goriest film I've ever seen, the highly-squeamish may want to avoid it or cover their eyes from time to time, but even then, I still suggest you give this one a chance. It has a fantastic staying power, and I think that people will be talking about and loving this film for quite a long time. It set Pegg and Frost as legitimate forces on the silver screen, and because of this film, I always eagerly await their next endeavor.

Rankings
Best All-Time: #91
Best Comedy: #13

2004 Awards
Wins: Best Comedy; Best Horror/Thriller
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Cast, Comedy; Best Screenplay, Comedy; Best Actor, Comedy; Best Supporting Actor, Comedy; Best Supporting Actress, Comedy

Previous DVD Challenge: ZOMBIELAND (2009)