A re-evaluation of a cult classic I never loved, and a celebration of one filmmaker’s brilliance.
“How’s that for a slice of fried gold?”
‘Clever’ doesn’t even begin to describe this. You don’t need me to rant at you to understand the brilliance of Edgar Wright, you’ve all seen that excellent Every Frame A Painting video by now. Not to mention that marvellous head of hair. Also, uh, his films are pretty great. The glorious homage to homoerotic eighties/nineties buddy cop cinema that is Hot Fuzz. The beer-soaked, body-snatching batshit insanity of The World’s End. The way bonafide sex symbol Michael Cera jumps out of a fucking window because he’s too scared to face up to his girlfriend in Scott Pilgrim vs The World… What separates Shaun Of The Dead from the rest of this incredible filmography is the fact I wasn’t always aware of its brilliance. In fact I’m pretty sure a small part of me resented it.
Sacrilege?! Well you’re all to blame – putting this film up on a pedestal like it’s some kind of rom/zom/com to end all rom/zom/coms. I mean… it is. I know that now. But for a long time I was blind to its infinite charms. The way Shaun’s first tippy-toe yawn fills you with a warm, fuzzy feeling of familiarity on rewatch. The fact that it takes precisely thirty minutes for a zombie to enter the main narrative and you never once feel bored with the build-up. The scarily honest portrayal of a long-term relationship buckling under the weight of mundanity. The shockingly heartwarming redemption of an insufferable twat through the love he has for a friend he feels totally inadequate next to. Wright’s deep reverence for British humour, music and pub culture bleeds into his first mid/large scale project, grounding it with heart, satirical wit and a genuine sense of playfulness. He’s essentially playing make believe zombie invasion with a bunch of friends in his back yard – weaving in enough creative storytelling, romantic heroics and sidesplittingly funny audiovisual gags to entertain everyone else in the process.
This film is fucking great, and it only gets better with every viewing.