Saturday, 5 October 2013

Shaun of the Dead (UK, 2004)

The first film in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, this being the red strawberry flavour Cornetto to represent the blood and gore of the horror genre. Yep the ragtag bunch of scruffy oddball Brits from the TV show 'Spaced' are here with more outlandish comedy the likes of which the Americans can only dream of.

Put simply, a regular working stiff must contend with his everyday mundane life that includes various family problems and girlfriend issues. Oh and at the same time there's that zombie apocalypse thing to deal with also, geez some days you just can't catch a break huh.

Now I will admit I'm not a zombie fan, I'm more of a vampire and werewolf person, my reasons? simply because all zombie flicks are almost identical. This comedy/parody/homage is again no difference from the myriad of other zombie flicks out there accept its funny. There is no real explanation for the zombie outbreak, it just happens, but that's not important, this is simply an amusing sketch that has been stretched out into a film.

That's not to say it doesn't work as it does, but its not as good as many rave on about in my personal opinion. I didn't really get on with the film when I saw it the first time round and this time I can still see why. The start of the film is great fun, I really enjoyed watching'Shaun' flounder in his dead end job with his young teenage staff that don't give a shit...a typical British trait that I've seen in reality. I liked to watch him and his best mate 'Ed' in their trashy rented accommodation that is easily a 'Men Behaving Badly/Bottom' type scenario that we Brits do so well.

The set up for the film is perfect, a slobby male couple who seem to crawl through life having work/girlfriend issues but plenty of time for drinking and Playstation. Nick Frost is the perfect pub dwelling, overweight, student-like representation and Pegg is the perfect down trodden bloke dreaming of better things. As the zombie outbreak starts to flare up I loved how these two guys don't really notice and when they do it still takes time for it to sink in (as it would). Small sequences where they attack zombies, try to work out what's going on by sitting on the couch, having a drink and watching TV and then trying to get to Shaun's mums house are the best moments early on in the film.

I guess what I don't like about the film is the fact it turns into a semi serious weepy/drama...almost. As the film progresses and the small band of survivors haul up in a pub (how typically British), the film does tend to get quite emotional in parts, little moments that do actually put a lump in your throat (when Shaun's mum dies). Its these points that make me wonder what the film actually wants to be. Essentially the film splits and takes on a whole new approach, first half is a funny sight gag parody, second half becomes a more serious action thriller with emotional deaths, I'm just not sure that I liked that decision.

Its certainly an amusing jaunt that adheres to the old school original zombie school of thought...or laws. In that I mean the zombies are slow moving, lurching creatures that groan a lot and stagger around arms outstretched in a cliched manner. They don't run or think or assist each other, they just stumble around and eat whatever happens to fall in their path, oh and there are are plenty of little tributes to various other zombie classics of course. Think of it along the lines of 'An American Werewolf in London' but not as dark or adult, but as I've said in my other reviews this could so easily be the next Monty Python flick.

Plenty of offensive British language which we all love so much, toilet humour, gore and pop culture references galore. The cast are excellent, the whole film looks good in that quirky little England type of way (good old North London eh) and the dialog is sharp...but I still think 'Hot Fuzz' is the superior of the trilogy.