With my self-imposed “50 reviews” deadline looming, I thought I’d round off 2008 with the first two films of the “Blood and Ice Cream” trilogy, “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”. First off, Mr. Of the Dead.
The story follows Shaun (Simon Pegg), a thirty-something loser whose life is going nowhere. His girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) breaks up with him because of this, leaving Shaun heartbroken and depressed. After a heavy night of drinking with his best friend Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun returns home to the news that there’s a zombie invasion going on. The story is brilliant. I love the fact that the huge zombie invasion happens in the background of Shaun’s life. I’ve got to commend the fact that the cause of the zombification is not explained. Thank God there are films out there that let us decide for ourselves what the answers are, rather than spelling it out like we’ve all got jagged shrapnel embedded in our brains. My idea? Penguins with jetpacks decide enough is enough and wage biological warfare on us pesky humans.
I can’t really fault “Shaun of the Dead” on anything. The actors are all great, especially the double act of Pegg and Frost- surely one of the best comedy duos in a long, long time. It’s very funny, surprisingly touching in places and has enough classic zombie blood ‘n’ guts to keep even the most twisted of gore fans happy. I mean, a lot of the film consists of homage and parody, but it’s very cleverly done. You don’t get the feeling that it relying on other films’ ideas to carry it along. It’s got a clear sense of story and doesn’t lose sight of it even when the zombified shit hits the fan.
In terms of favourite scenes, I love the “Don’t Stop Me Now” scene (I’m sure you know the scene I’m talking about) and the record flinging scene. Actually, to have “favourite scenes” seems like a bit of a disservice to the rest of the film. It’s fantastic and there’s a “oh, I like this bit” moment in pretty much every scene. If that isn’t a recommendation, I don’t know what is.