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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Shaun of the Dead': Edgar Wright's Highly Entertaining Depiction of the Zombie Apocalypse

Movie poster for the 2004 horror comedy Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead (2004) is a droll and inspired British horror comedy starring Simon Pegg as the titular Shaun, an apathetic slacker working in North London as an electronics salesman. Disrespected by his co-workers and dumped by his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), Shaun is nursing his wounds at The Winchester pub alongside sidekick Ed (Nick Frost) when the city is overrun by a zombie invasion.

After their flatmate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz) is inexplicably bitten by a mugger, the city is soon overwhelmed by scores of the undead—though Shaun and Ed are humorously oblivious to the entire incursion. Eventually catching on to the catastrophe at hand, they scramble to rescue Shaun's mother Barbara (Penelope Wilton) as well as Liz and her flatmates before absconding to The Winchester to barricade themselves against the bloodthirsty horde. The storyline plays out as a wry and often gruesome tale of desperate survival, as the band of survivors desperately attempts to repel the invasive zombies with the limited resources they're able to muster.

Directed by British filmmaker Edgar Wright and co-written by Wright and Pegg in the first installment of their Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (followed by Hot Fuzz in 2007 and The World's End in 2013), Shaun of the Dead is a transgressive delight. Wright and company balance the horrific and the hysterical to perfection, with Pegg carrying the weight with his excellent range and comedic timing. Undeniably jarring in it's delivery of gory extravagance, the team has pulled no punches in its formulation of a full-throttle horror story imbued with comical dialogue, absurdist turns and astute homage to the works of legendary zombie purveyor George A. Romero.


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