PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 29-year-old salesman whose life has no direction. His younger colleagues at work show him no respect and he has a rocky relationship with his stepfather, Phillip (Bill Nighy). He also has a tense relationship with his housemate, Pete (Peter Serafinowicz), because of Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun’s crude best friend who lives on their couch and deals marijuana. His girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield), is unsatisfied with their social life, because it consists primarily of spending every evening at the Winchester, Shaun and Ed’s favourite pub, as well as the fact that they never do anything alone together – Shaun always brings Ed and she has to bring her flatmates, David (Dylan Moran) and Dianne (Lucy Davis). After a miserable day at his work, Shaun gets stopped on the street by an old friend Yvonne (Jessica Stevenson) who asks him what he and Liz are doing for their anniversary — a question which makes him realise he forgot to book a table at the restaurant he’d promised Liz the previous night. Faced with this failure on Shaun’s part, Liz decides she’s had enough and breaks up with him; Shaun then drowns his sorrows with Ed at the Winchester, and Ed, consoling him, ironically quotes “It’s not the end of the world.”
Just at that moment, a man (probably already a zombie) bangs on the window sluggishly. Ed laughs at the lumbering man as obviously already being drunk. The two return home after midnight and spin electro records as a kind of impromptu breakup party, only to have Pete confront them, who is suffering a headache after being mugged and bitten by “some crackheads”. Pete berates Shaun and tells him to sort his life out. Shaun, at first angry, slowly lets his (still intoxicated) mind absorb what Pete has told him, and indeed resolves to sort his life out.
All these revelations and upheavals comes at the same time as an apocalyptic uprising of zombies, although Shaun is too hungover to notice at first. He and Ed just barely begin to become aware what is happening after watching reports on TV and after several zombies appear at their house, and they decide they need to ensure they are somewhere safe. Shaun and Ed arm themselves with weapons from the shed and realise that the safest place they know is the Winchester. They plan to collect Shaun’s mother, Barbara (Penelope Wilton), and Phillip, and Liz and her flatmates and head to the Winchester. They discover that Pete is still in the house and is now a zombie, but manage to escape in Pete’s car. After collecting Barbara and Phillip, who is bitten in the process, they switch cars and drive in Phillip’s Jaguar and head to Liz, Dianne and David’s flat, and collect them. Before they make it to the Winchester, Phillip dies of his bite, after he manages to make peace with Shaun. Forced to abandon the car, they set off on foot, bumping into Yvonne and her own band of survivors. Discovering that the path is infested with zombies, they devise a plan to sneak by, pretending to be zombies, with the help of Dianne, who is an aspiring actress. Ed and Shaun get into an argument and the zombies, after watching the commotion, realise they are not dead and approach. David smashes the window with a dustbin and, while Shaun distracts the zombies, everyone takes refuge inside the pub. Shaun joins them after giving the zombies the slip.
After several hours, the zombies return. Ed inadvertently gives away their position when he wins on the fruit machine and the zombies converge on the pub. At that moment, the pub’s landlords, also zombies, arrive and attack them. Ed manages to get the Winchester rifle above the bar working and they use it to fend off the zombies breaking in. However, Barbara reveals a bite wound she picked up along the way and subsequently dies. Realising she is about to become a zombie, David points the rifle at her, only to meet resistance from Shaun and Ed, and in the ensuing confrontation, Dianne reveals that she is aware that David loves Liz and not her. After Barbara returns as a zombie, Shaun shoots her, and punches David. David grabs the rifle and attempts to shoot Shaun, but discovers that the rifle is out of ammo. Before anyone can react to his attempt to kill Shaun, David angrily storms to the door. Dianne talks him away from it, and David begins to apologize to Shaun. At that moment, the zombies break through a window and drag him out, disembowelling and dismembering him. Frantic, Dianne unbolts the door to leave and rescue David, exposing Shaun, Liz and Ed to the zombies. Ed prepares a Molotov cocktail to fend them off, but Pete arrives and bites him. He manages to get over the bar and Shaun uses the cocktail to ignite the bar. They escape into the cellar. Finding themselves cornered, they contemplate suicide, but discover a service hatch. Shaun and Liz escape through the hatch, and Ed, now mortally wounded from the ensuing zombie attack, stays behind with a cigarette and the rifle. Back on the street, Shaun and Liz prepare to fight the zombies once more, but at that moment, the British Army arrives and they are rescued. Yvonne, who has also survived, shows up and tells Shaun and Liz to follow her. They approach the safety of the trucks, reconciled.
Six months after the outbreak, all of the uninfected have returned to daily life, and the remaining zombies, retaining their instincts, are used as cheap labour and entertainment. Liz and Shaun have moved in together in Shaun’s house, and Shaun is keeping Ed, who is now a zombie, tethered in the shed and playing video games
Zombies seem to be the next big thing on the horizon, thanks in large part to AMC’s Walking Dead. So, my other Halloween selection this year is the zombie spoof, Shaun of the Dead.
Now, if you’re not a fan of the dry wit that British comedy has, I would strongly urge you to stay away from this film, as you may not find it entertaining in the least, except for the zombie deaths and stuff. However, if you do enjoy British humor, you’ll notice how hilarious this film is.
Simon Pegg has made a niche for himself and it really works for him. Couple that with his “sidekick” Nick Frost, and you have one of the great comedic duos of our time.
Bill Nighy is also in here, but he plays this kid of douche-y stepdad role, but, in typical Nighy fashion, he steals the show without being the star of the film.
The main drawback to this flick is that it seems to spend too much time trying to get the audience to feel something for Shaun. While that makes sense, I still found myself wanting them to hurry up and get to the zombie parts. I mean, that’s the reason we’re watching this anyway, right?
On that note, these zombies actually didn’t look half bad, especially for a comedy. I must say that I was a tad bit impressed, but not overly so.
If you’re looking for gore, this isn’t the zombie flick for you. Remember, this is a comedy after all. Having said that, please don’t let the lack of blood and guts keep you from watching this very funny spoof on the genre. It is a really good film and, dare I say, a must-see. Why not check it out when you get the chance?
3 3/4 out of 5 stars