Shaun of the Dead (2004)

This, on the other hand, fully lived up to its acclaim for me, and frankly I’m now more than slightly embarrassed at having taken so long to get around to watching it; Shaun’s adventures in the zombie apocalypse proved to be a terrific very late night watch on Friday. Brilliantly timed to coincide with the Dawn of the Dead remake; that film seemed good enough until I saw the Romero original again—it was reissued here on DVD just after the remake hit cinemas—and made Snyder’s film look inadequate, and now that I’ve seen Shaun it does the same, if not more so. Famously advertised as a “rom zom com”, the remarkable thing is how well it delivers on all of those things. The comedy arises beautifully through the first half hour with Shaun’s obliviousness to the carnage going on around him; just look at the casualness with which it all arises. the way it lurks in the background through the first act. The romance doesn’t make you want to choke. And the zombies contribute to what is perhaps the most surprising thing about the film, i.e. the genuineness of the suspense it racks up in the last act when they’re all inside the pub (an inspired English counterpart to the American films’ shopping mall) and surrounded by untold numbers of the undead; it’s really good at this part and does as effective a job of making you wonder how the fuck they’re going to get out of the situation as any serious horror film (and probably a better job than many such). Best of all, there’s that ending, which gloriously finds the survivors just getting on with life; just because a big portion of the population happens to be undead is no reason why things can’t just carry on the way they used to. I really should’ve seen this a long time ago; clearly one of the best films of the last decade.

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