Zombies, zombies, zombies...
So the next movie on my list was Shaun of the Dead
I grabbed it off the stack and stuck it in the player with glee (also used my hand). This thing came highly recommended and since I love British comedy and love, love, love zombie movies I was set and I was NOT disappointed.
You basically have Shaun who is drifting through life, content with a dead end job, hanging out at the local pub (the Winchester) with his cute girlfriend (of three years) Liz, his loser mate Ed, and Liz's friends Diane and David, and a less than stellar relationship with his parents. Liz isn't happy with that at all and decides to dump him after he fails to change his ways. During this whole setup we see that a zombie invasion has begun. Shaun keeps noticing little things like weirdness on the news and a bum in the park eating pigeons, but life keeps getting in the way of him realizing what is really going on.
Once he does (it takes a zombie little girl and a big zombie attacking his flat to wake him up) he and Ed round up friends and family and head for the Winchester. Along the way we served up heaping helpings of dry wit, massive amounts of head trauma dealt out by cricket bat, people getting eaten, and some actual character development.
The comic timing between Simon Pegg (Shaun) and Nick Frost (Ed) is fantastic. I don't know how much these guys have worked together in the past but they were a real team. The weakest link was probably Lucy Davis who played Diane, but even she gets a really good scene where she teaches the group how to act like a zombie.
The gore factor is pretty high as it should be. This shouldn't surprise you (if you watch any scary movies at all) so I wouldn't call it a spoiler but at least one of the group gets eaten and when he does it's blood and guts everywhere. In this case it's David and since he looks so much like Harry Potter I didn't mind really.
There's some nice dramatic acting by Pegg. When Shaun has to make some hard choices you really get it. The romantic chemistry between Pegg and Kate Ashfield is also really good. Their relationship stays out of Lifetime territory and never feels forced or stereotypical.
Is the movie perfect? Not at all. You definitely see some things coming. Of course that's mainly because they stay true to the tennents of zombie movies (holing up while the zombies beat on doors/windows, friends turning into zombies, valiant last stand). The ending betrays that a bit, but it is a comedy in addition to being a zombie film. I suppose if there are any big points that bugged me it was the last few minutes. It felt tacked on and went a bit too deep into silly territory (of course since one of the first weapons used against the zombies in the beginning was an LP of the Batman soundtrack I suppose not much deeper than the rest of the film).
I'll give this a solid 8.5/10. I'd give it a half-point more but a 9/10 may set expectations too high and it puts it on par with some greats.
Oh and as a DVD this had some nice bonuses, out takes, and the menus were great. Definitely need to add this to my collection.