Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 black comedy zombie film directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Shaun works at an electronics store with no particular life goals. He doesn't get along well with his stepfather Phillip, feels distant from his Mother, his subordinates at his job show him no respect, and due to his one true friend Ed being a permanent house guest who's even worse off in his life than Shaun, his housemate Pete is beginning to detest him. Shaun's girlfriend, Liz, is tired of spending every date night at his favorite bar, the Winchester. Shaun always brings Ed, Liz always brings her friends David and Dianne, and the tension is slowly coming to a head. They never get alone time and she is starting fall under the influence of her friends belief that she may be stuck in a dead end with Shaun.
One morning Shaun wakes groggily and wanders into the living room to find Ed already awake playing Timesplitters 2 on the XBOX while an unknown person (possibly Pete) is asleep on a chair. Shaun grabs the second controller for a game of multiplayer before Ed reminds Shaun that it's a workday, Shaun disappointingly places his controller down.
In the bathroom he is confronted by Pete, to tell him the front door was not just unlocked, but left wide open, which has become a regular habit. Downstairs Pete attempts to talk some sense into Shaun about Ed's "Man child" "life's a party" attitude and they are both beyond Ed's philosophy and should act it. He asks Shaun when Ed is going to start living at home.
Shaun, trying to find a moment to break the ice, points to enemies in the game as he tries to tell him. With no success Pete calmly interrupts and tries to get some civilized response out of Ed on how to be a "roommate", albeit a temporary one by asking him to write down other people's messages and not just his own, asking if he knows how to write something on paper. As Pete leaves for work "I AM A WANKER" is seen on his back across 4 post-it notes. Shaun is clearly upset that Ed still insists on acting childish. Ed apologizes to which Shaun excepts. Ed apologizes again to clarify it was an apology for passing severe gas in the room as Shaun giggles while sickened by the odor. His answer to stop it from Ed is simply "I'll stop doing it when you stop laughing."
After a bad day at work, Shaun runs into an old friend Yvonne who asks how he and Liz will celebrate their anniversary, which reminds him that he forgot to make a reservation at a restaurant as he had planned to do. In response, Liz breaks up with him. Shaun drinks his problems away with Ed at the Winchester. The two return home late that night to a noisily woken and distressed Pete. He claims to have been bitten by some "crackheads". He derides Shaun to get his act together.
The following morning, a zombie invasion is in full swing. Shaun, however, is too busy dealing with his own problems to notice. Shaun and Ed find one such zombie in their backyard, assuming her to just be drunk, until she survives a normally fatal accident of impaling herself on an iron post. Another zombie attempts to ambush them from behind. Shaun and Ed had learned from the television that they have to remove the head or destroy the brain.
Shaun and Ed start fighting back with a box of vinyl records, (A particular amusing moment as Shaun being a lover of music is being conservative about which albums to throw) a cricket bat, and a shovel. They kill the two zombies in Shaun's backyard and continue on to the Winchester. Shaun discovers a now zombified Pete who turned in the shower and is consequently naked. They escape from him in Pete's car. They find Shaun's mother, Barbara and Phillip - who Barbara mentions has been bitten. They switch cars as Ed crashes Pete's on purpose so he can drive Phillip's Jaguar. The crew drives to Liz's flat where she, Dianne, and David are waiting. Phillip dies of his bite after making peace with Shaun.They set off on foot after ditching Zombie-Phillip in the Jaguar. They find Yvonne and her group of survivors on the way. They sneak by a crowd of zombies by faking the disease with some direction from DIanne (Being a "failed actress" as Shaun had put it. Shaun and Ed get into an argument about Ed's constant irresponsibility that has been boiling up since Pete's conversation, alerting the zombies of their presence. Shaun distracts the zombies as the others take refuge inside the bar. Shaun joins them later, simply saying he "gave them the slip" and escaped.
After some time in the dark together, they decide to attempt to get the power running. Shaun gets the power on and sees that the zombies he thought he lost are in the back alley and he wasn't as succesful of losing them as he thought. In the bar Dianne finds all the television channels are in Emergency Broadcast Mode. Shaun finds a Winchester rifle and uses it to fight back against the zombies. Barbara reveals a bite wound she had received on the trip. She didn't want to be bothersome so she didn't tell anyone. She "turns" and Shaun shoots her. David makes an insensitive comment which enrages Shaun to punch David. Embarrassed and angry in front of everyone he yells that he's leaving. As Dianne tries to get David to apologize to Shaun, zombies crash through the window and David is disemboweled and dismembered by the zombies, Dianne chases after him into a mob leaving ambiguity of her fate. Shaun, Liz, and Ed now remain wide open to the zombies. Ed makes a Molotov cocktail to fight back but just then, Pete arrives to the surprise and pleasure of Ed, who finally wants a fighting match with him. Pete gets the upper hand and bites Ed on the neck before being shot. Shaun later uses the cocktail to set fire to the bar. The three escape to the lower level and Ed sacrifices himself to buy Liz and Shaun time to escape. Shaun and Liz escape through a service hatch to the street. Once outside they find the British Army has arrived to fight back the zombie onslaught. Yvonne arrives and tells them to follow her. They resolutely find safety in the rescue trucks.
Six months later, the survivors return to normal life. The remaining zombies serve as entertainment and menial labor. Liz and Shaun move in together in Shaun's house. Shaun keeps the infected Ed in his backyard shed to play video games with.
- Simon Pegg as Shaun
- Kate Ashfield as Liz
- Nick Frost as Ed
- Lucy Davis as Dianne
- Dylan Moran as David
- Nicola Cunningham as Mary
- Penelope Wilton as Barbara
- Bill Nighy as Phillip
- Jessica Stevenson as Yvonne
- Peter Serafinowicz as Pete
- Rafe Spall as Noel
The British sitcom Spaced had a large influence over Shaun of the Dead. Pegg and Wright both mentioned having liked George A. Romero's Living Dead (franchise). The decided to make their own zombie film. Shaun of the Dead features a number of British comedians, comic actors and sitcom stars including Dylan Moran and Tamsin Greig.
The film was shot over a nine week period between May and July 2003.
In its United Kingdom opening weekend it raked in £1.6 million. In the United States opening weekend, it earned $3.3 million. It earned $30 million worldwide in the box office since its release.
Awards and recognitionEdit
It won 49th best British film of all time in the Total Film magazine.
Romero was so impressed with their work he offered them a spot in his 2005 film Land of the Dead. They insisted on being zombies rather than a more noticeable role.
- The obnoxious teenager working at the electronics store is the same who calls Ed throught the film about marijuana. Hence the line "I've already talked to him, he's just got a Henry. (Henry being the code for an 8th of marijuana.) Ed at the beginning of the film told him that's all he was carrying. Also the "HEY MATTTTEEEEEE!!" is the most recognizable part of his character.
- Shaun announces to the staff at the electronics store that Ash has called in sick along with the manager. An obvious nod to Bruce Campbell seeing as it's a film about the undead and his character worked in a department store setting.
- Many cast members have been guest stars on the renowned BBC Science Fiction program, Doctor WHO. (The exception being Dylan Moran, Kate Ashfield and Lucy Davis.)
Language and Culture differences Edit
- In the first few minutes of the film, Ed refers to the group at the bar as c*nts. Although still offending, the word has much less of an impact in that part of the world and is commonly used as the equivalent to "dude" and "bro". Especially amongst hardcore soccer fans.
- When Shaun tells Ed not to use the word Zombie, he says not to use the "Zed" word. That simply is the English variation on the "Zee" word. As in "Don't use that, don't say the "Z" word."
- When Shaun tells Ed that Liz's phone is engaged, Ed replies "That was quick." This is an inside joke for American viewers as "engaged" in the United Kingdom simply means the phone is busy.
- Until the "Cornetto Trilogy" became such an pop culture sensation, the word Cornetto confused many American viewers though they still opted to use the ice cream brand by name.
- Shaun of the Dead at AllMovie
- Shaun of the Dead at the Internet Movie Database
- Shaun of the Dead at Rotten Tomatoes
- Shaun of the Dead at Wikipedia
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