Shaun (co-writer Simon Pegg) is on the cusp of his thirties, and still has growing up to do.He and girlfriend Liz wind up in the Winchester pub every night, and she’s sick of it, much to thedelight of her roommates Liz and David (the latter being an insufferable twit who pines for Liz).His best friend Ed is a pig, and has crashed permanently in Shaun’s house, much to thedispleasure of his housemate, Pete. Liz dumps Shaun, who thinks his life is over. Then, hegradually becom…s aware that London is being overrun by reanimated corpses, and he must fightto prevent his life from REALLY being over.
Beyond the obvious pun of the title, the soundtrack is filled with music cues from Dawnof the Dead, there are verbal references to everything from Night of the Living Deadto 28 Days Later, and the scene where Shaun fights back with a gun is a verbal nod to theinnumerable kill-the-zombie first-person-shooter video games. All very clever. But Pegg and co-writer/director Edgar Wright have also constructed a romantic comedy that is funny in its ownright, never mind the zombies, and the emotional moments are played for keeps. Yes, this is azombie comedy that reveals more depths and heartfelt truths which each subsequent viewing.Miss it at your peril.
The dialogue is crisp and never distorts, so the extremely witty screenplay is well served. Theplacement of the surround effects is excellent, and the music comes across in a most satisfyingfashion. This is, until it builds, a relatively quiet film, so don’t go expecting total immersion forthe first half.
The colours have a good, natural feel to them. There is no visible edge enhancement of grain,and the image is very sharp. The blacks are very good too. In sum, the look of the disc almostperfectly captures the theatrical experience, where the deadpan naturalism of the images bouncedhilariously off the gruesome violence and bizarre events.
There are two commentary tracks, one by Pegg and Wright, and the other by Pegg and therest of the principle cast members. The former is more witty, the latter more silly, but both,though especially the first, will tell you just about everything you’d want to know. The “RawMeat” section of the extras includes Pegg’s video diary, casting tapes, a featurette of Wright andPegg explaining the illustrated flip chart they used for making the film, a comparison of shotsbefore and after the FX treatment, and a making-of featurette (which is pretty standard). “ZombieGallery” has a still gallery, the 2000 A.D. strip, and the poster designs. “Missing Bits”has “Funky Pete” (wherein Pete’s blue streak becomes ridiculous as he substitutes “funk” for theother word, supposedly for airline consumption), “The Man Who Would Be Shaun” (horsingaround with voices by Pegg and Nick Frost), “Plot Holes” (three narrated comic strips tidying uploose ends), fifteen extended scenes with optional commentary, and outtakes. “TV Bits” has thefull TV sequences seen in the film (some quite funny), and finally there’s the trailer. The menu isfully animated and scored, and is another nod to video games.
Instant classic, this one, being both a superlative comedy and zombie movie. Return ofthe Living Dead was a ton of fun, but it is now hopelessly outclassed.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- 15 Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary
- Simon Pegg’s Video Diary
- Casting Tapes
- Flip Chart
- SFX Comparison
- Make-up Tests
- Making-of Featurette
- Photo Gallery
- 2000 AD Strip
- TV Bits