Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween DVD Treat

Today is Halloween and for those who are either too old to go out and Trick-Or-Treat or not really interested in going to costume parties I suggest you stay in and watch a good movie. Classics like Child's Play, Halloween, Friday the 13th, or even Carrie come to mind, But my pick will always be Shaun of the Dead.

Edgar Wright's horror-comedy film, SHAUN OF THE DEAD, follows the title character (Simon Pegg) through his mundane life in London. Joined by his immature and ever-present roommate, Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun excels at nothing except drinking pints of ale and watching television, which causes friction with his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield). Before Shaun can save his relationship, however, he's got to fend off a horde of zombies that are slowly taking over the city. Armed with a cricket bat and a vague sense of direction, Shaun must rescue his friends and loved ones, and bring them to the only safe place he can think of--the pub.
Cowritten by Wright and Pegg, SHAUN OF THE DEAD succeeds remarkably well at combining droll British humor with good, old-fashioned zombie cinema. While the movie is often hilariously amusing, it takes its horror pedigree seriously, offering up moments of genuine suspense, and even a healthy dose of gore. Pegg is oddly charming as the put-upon lead slacker, and Frost is appropriately oafish, but the living dead themselves also take up a fair amount of screen time, shuffling and limping in their best Romero form. For lovers of zombie films and other chills-and-chuckles outings like EVIL DEAD II and DEAD ALIVE, SHAUN OF THE DEAD is an instant cult classic. The first half of the film contains many of its best moments, as when Shaun walks through his zombie-ridden neighborhood so concerned with his own problems that he doesn't even notice the undead surrounding him. How did it get so bad so without Shaun noticing? Well, he had ample opportunity what with the non-stop news and radio coverage, but Shaun and his couch-potato pal Ed have itchy remote control fingers. Plus, Ed took Shaun on a weekend-long bender to drown his sorrows after his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield, smart without being too perky) dumped him. It seems that Shaun only ever wants to sit around and go down to his favorite bar, The Winchester. When the zombie menace (which, thankfully, is never explained) becomes clear, Shaun (and, to a lesser degree, Ed) springs into action, rounding up Shaun's mom, Liz and her two annoying friends Dianne and David, and bringing them to - where else? - The Winchester. In a series of amusing flash-forwards, Shaun and Ed try to determine the safest possible haven. They decide on the local pub because, among other reasons, Ed can smoke there. The whole outlandish situation is treated with typical English stoicism, leading to some wonderfully funny moments. Shaun’s mother (Penelope Wilton) doesn’t want to be rude, so she describes the zombies as being “a bit bitey.” And Shaun’s step-father (Bill Nighy) isn’t worried about having been bitten, because he ran the wound under a cold tap. Throw in Shaun’s best friend, Ed , who manages to work a fart joke into his death scene, and you have one of the better comedies of the year. Oh yeah, it’s also a horror flick with buckets of blood and crowds of unrelenting zombies. If there’s a downside, it’s that the film’s not very scary, although what zombie flick is? Every time something horrific happens, Shaun and his mates diffuse the tension with a cheeky one-liner, which makes for a terrific comedy but only and an even funnier horror flick. Pop this one in for a double dose of horror and comedy. Hell, i'd put this on just for Simon Pegg alone. This gets my holiday DVD pick. And it gets a much deserving 5 on my "Go See" scale.

1 comment:

italkfilm said...

I would have to agree with ya, this is a great Halloween flick . Why does every horror films have to all blood and guts anyways? I still love the part when they just walk like zombies to get around unnoticed . Funny Funny film. My can't they have a mini Mr. T zombie anyways?