Movie Review #803: An almost zombie version of ‘Dr. Strangelove’, ‘Shaun of the Dead”s brilliant satire is brought to life by a talented cast lead by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
By Red Stewart
|Rated R (contains gore, violence, profanity)|
I’ll start this review by confessing that I am not a big fan of British
humor humour. I couldn’t get into the original Office show created by Ricky Gervais, nor Red Dwarf for that matter, and even Americanized comedians like Russell Brand and Steve Coogan rarely make me laugh.
Coming off of “Zombieland” to watch “Shaun of the Dead” with this mentality, I was surprised by how much I truly enjoyed the first entry in Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg’s famed Cornetto trilogy, arguably even more so than “Zombieland”. The film follows a lowly salesman named Shaun who must lead his friends and family to safety when a zombie epidemic breaks out in his town.
The plot is as simple as that, but what makes “SOTD” so damn entertaining is the witty dialogue Wright and Pegg have written for their cast of characters. Pegg and Frost make for an appealing pair of leads due to how ordinary and relatable they are as people. Many zombie films, most notably Romero’s, rely on a fearful cast to tell their story, but “SOTD” goes in the complete opposite direction. Though this is obviously done for satirical reasons, it actually brings a level of plainness that makes you keener to revel in all the situations.
“Zombieland” relied on action in order to create depth for its characters, however in “SOTD”, Wright and Pegg have opted for conversations instead. Long scenes are devoted to discussions between the characters, and the writers take advantage by infusing their words with some of the best satire I have ever heard. It’s hard to describe the cool language without spoiling the whole basis of the movie, but I will say that it is the reason why I consider “Shaun of the Dead” to be practically the zombie version of “Dr. Strangelove”. It isn’t quite the equivalent due to the ending which, if you see both films, you’ll understand what I mean, but it’s close enough to be that good.