|Shaun of the Dead|
Release poster showing Shaun squashed between several zombies.
|Directed by||Edgar Wright|
|Produced by||Tim Bevan
|Written by||Edgar Wright
|Music by||Daniel Mudford
|Cinematography||David M. Dunlap|
|Editing by||Chris Dickens|
Working Title Films
Big Talk Productions
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures
|Release date(s)||9 April 2004|
|Running time||99 minutes|
|Followed by||Hot Fuzz|
Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 British horror comedy directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and written by Pegg and Wright. Pegg plays Shaun, a man attempting to get some kind of focus in his life as he deals with his girlfriend, his mother and stepfather. At the same time he has to cope with an apocalyptic uprising of zombies.
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is an appliance salesman whose life is without direction; his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) is dissatisfied with their social life, primarily because it consists of spending nearly every evening in The Winchester, Shaun's favourite pub with Shaun's best friend and housemate, Ed (Nick Frost) and Liz's flatmates, David (Dylan Moran) and Dianne (Lucy Davis). He has issues with his stepfather Phillip (Bill Nighy) and another, increasingly unhappy housemate, Pete (Peter Serafinowicz), and a dissatisfying job where his younger co-workers show him no respect. While Pete demands that Ed be evicted, due to his laziness, that same evening Liz dumps Shaun for not fulfilling his promise of doing something special for their anniversary. He drowns his sorrows at the Winchester with Ed. After Pete berates him and tells him to "sort [his] life out," he has an epiphany and resolves to sort his life out and win Liz back.
This revelation comes at the same time as an uprising of the undead within London, who begin to attack and devour the living, although the hungover Shaun initially does not notice and is able to walk to the local cornershop and back whilst totally oblivious to the carnage around him. Shaun finally realises what is happening only after two zombies attack him in his back garden. Shaun and Ed try to kill the garden zombies by throwing albums at them and, when these prove useless, they arm themselves with a cricket bat and spade. As Shaun finds out Pete has become a zombie after someone had "mugged" him the previous day, Shaun and Ed plan to leave the house. They rescue Liz, along with Shaun's mother Barbara (Penelope Wilton) and Phillip, who had been bitten earlier but is still alive, and wait the crisis out in the Winchester. David and Dianne decide to come along as well.
During their journey, Phillip is again mortally wounded but manages to make peace with Shaun before dying and turning into a zombie, forcing the group to abandon him and their car and proceed on foot. The group find the Winchester surrounded by zombies, and they approach the pub by impersonating zombies, but they are discovered after the zombies hear them arguing. Shaun draws the undead away while the others barricade themselves inside. Shaun returns to the pub thinking that he eluded the zombie crowd.
The time barricaded in the pub, along with the stress of fighting the encroaching zombies, gives way to angry confessions about one another. David refuses to admit he is in love with Liz, but Dianne reveals that she knows David loves Liz and not her.
It turns out that Shaun had not managed to elude the zombies and they soon return and break in through a side entrance. Shaun is forced to shoot his mother with the pub's mounted Winchester rifle after she reveals that she had been bitten earlier, dies and becomes a zombie. Shaun is in tears, and David tells him he did the right thing, which prompts Shaun to punch David in the face. David attempts to apologize to Shaun but is pulled through a smashed window, torn apart and eaten. Dianne charges outside through the front doors in a futile attempt to save David (according to a DVD extra, Dianne survives by climbing up a tree and waiting out the apocalypse), allowing more zombies into the pub. Ed prepares a Molotov cocktail, but after attempting to choke the zombified Pete, another zombie attacked him. Pete is then shot in the head by Shaun.
Escaping into the cellar, Ed decides to stay behind while Shaun and Liz escape through the barrel lift. Shaun and Liz briefly debate a murder/suicide of themselves, but can't decide who should shoot whom first so they decide to leave the gun with Ed. As the zombies break into the cellar, Shaun and Liz prepare for one last battle against the zombie horde, but, at that moment, the British Army, along with a friend of Shaun's, Yvonne (Jessica Hynes) come to their rescue. They hold hands as they approach a truck, reconciled.
Six months after the zombie outbreak, society has returned to normal, and the remaining zombies, who retain their primal instincts, have now become a part of everyday life, being used as cheap labour and game show participants. Shaun and Liz have moved in together, along with zombified Ed, who is kept chained in the garden shed, playing TimeSplitters 2.
The movie is notable for Wright's kinetic directing style, and its references to other movies, television shows and video games. In this way, it is similar to the British television sitcom Spaced, which both Pegg and Wright worked on in similar roles.
The film was inspired by the episode "Art" of the television programme Spaced, written by Pegg (along with his writing partner and co-star Jessica Stevenson) and directed by Wright, in which the character of Tim (Pegg), under the influence of amphetamine and the PlayStation video game Resident Evil 2, hallucinates that he's fighting off a zombie invasion. Having discovered a mutual appreciation for Romero's Dead trilogy, they decided to write their own zombie movie. Spaced was to be a big influence on the making of Shaun, as it was directed by Wright in a similar style, and featured many of the same cast and crew in minor and major roles (as well as Pegg, Wright and Stevenson, Nick Frost — who played Mike in Spaced — has a starring role in Shaun as Ed, and Peter Serafinowicz and Julia Deakin, who played Duane Benzie and Marsha in Spaced, respectively — appeared in Shaun as Pete and Yvonne's mum, respectively).
The film's cast features a number of British comedians, comic actors and sitcom stars, most prominently from Spaced, Black Books and The Office. Shaun also co-stars Dylan Moran, who played Bernard Black in Black Books, and Lucy Davis, who played Dawn in The Office. In addition to this, cameo appearances are made by Martin Freeman (Tim in The Office), Tamsin Greig (Fran in Black Books, Caroline in Green Wing), Julia Deakin (Marsha in Spaced), Reece Shearsmith (a member of The League of Gentlemen) and Matt Lucas (writer/co-star of Little Britain). In addition, the voices of Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentlemen) and Julia Davis (Nighty Night) can be heard as radio news presenters, as can David Walliams (Little Britain) who provides the voice of an unseen TV reporter. Trisha Goddard also makes a cameo appearance, hosting a fictionalised episode of her real-life talk show Trisha. Many other comics and comic actors appear in cameos as zombies, including Rob Brydon, Paul Putner, Pamela Kempthorne (Morticia de'Ath in The Vampires of Bloody Island), Joe Cornish, Peter Kay (Phoenix Nights), Antonia Campbell-Hughes (from the Jack Dee sit com Lead Balloon), Mark Donovan (Black Books) and Michael Smiley (Tyres in Spaced).
The production was filmed entirely in London, on location and at Ealing Studios, and involved production companies Working Title Films and StudioCanal. Many exterior shots were filmed in and around the North London areas of Crouch End and Finsbury Park. Zombie extras were mainly local residents or fans of Spaced (who responded to a casting call organised through a fan website. The scenes filmed in and around "The Winchester Pub" were shot at The Duke Of Albany in Monson Road New Cross, a three-storey Victorian pub popular with supporters of Millwall F.C.
The film proved both a commercial and critical success. In its opening weekend in the U.S., Shaun earned $3.3 million, taking 8th place at the box office despite a limited release to only 607 theatres. In the UK it took in £1.6 million at 307 cinemas on its opening weekend and netted £6.4M by mid-May. The film has earned just over $30 million worldwide in box office receipts since its release.
Critical reaction was largely positive, with the movie receiving a score of 91 percent at the comparative review website Rotten Tomatoes (with a Cream Of The Crop score of 94 percent) and a score of 76 out of 100 at Metacritic. Nev Pierce, reviewing the film for the BBC, called it a "side-splitting, head-smashing, gloriously gory horror comedy" that will "amuse casual viewers and delight genre fans." Peter Bradshaw gave it four stars out of five, saying it "boasts a script crammed with real gags" and is "pacily directed [and] nicely acted."
In 2004 the magazine Total Film named Shaun of the Dead the 49th greatest British film of all time. In 2005, it was rated as the 3rd greatest comedy film of all time in a Channel 4 poll. Horror novelist Stephen King described the movie as "...a '10' on the fun meter and destined to be a cult classic." In 2007, Stylus Magazine named it the 9th greatest zombie movie ever made. With positive reviews, the film has acquired a cult following among audiences. In 2007, Time named it one of the 25 best horror films, calling the film "spooky, silly and smart-smart-smart" and complimenting its director: "Wright, who'd be a director to watch in any genre, plays world-class games with the camera and the viewer's expectations of what's supposed to happen in a scare film.". Bloody Disgusting ranked the film second in their list of the 'Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade', with the article saying "Shaun of the Dead isn’t just the best horror-comedy of the decade – it’s quite possibly the best horror-comedy ever made."
George A. Romero was so impressed with Pegg and Wright's work that he asked them to appear in cameo roles in the 2005 film Land of the Dead. Pegg and Wright insisted on being zombies rather than the slightly more noticeable roles that were originally offered.
Quentin Tarantino dubbed the film as one of his top twenty films made since 1992.
The film was released on DVD shortly after its theatrical run in the US, with a DVD release around December 2004 in the US. Features included several audio commentaries, EPK featurettes about the film's production, pre-production video diaries and concept videos, photo galleries, and bloopers, and more. The film also saw release on the now-defunct HD-DVD format in July, 2007, with a Blu-ray release following in September 2009.
In 2006, the National Entertainment Collectibles Association announced that they would be producing action figures based on the film as part of their Cult Classics line that features fan favourite characters from various genre films. The releases so far are:
Prominent are many references to George A. Romero's earlier Dead films (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, with Dawn in particular being referenced). The title Shaun of the Dead is also both an obvious parody of and homage to the title Dawn of the Dead. Numerous lines, scenes and background details also directly refer to the Romero films, including the music playing over the Universal logo, which is the synthesiser soundtrack to Dawn of the Dead. The film also features a Kid Koala remix of "The Gonk," which was used over the closing credits of Dawn.
Other than Romero's work, many other references to horror films are made, such as the The Evil Dead series, 28 Days Later and the films of horror directors Lucio Fulci and John Carpenter. More diversely, references to Blade, The Deer Hunter, Reservoir Dogs, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers the films of James Cameron and the Star Wars trilogy can be found.
Aside from its inspiration, Shaun also features many references and inside jokes from their series, Spaced.
|Shaun of the Dead: Music from the Motion Picture|
|Soundtrack by various artists|
|Released||12 April 2004|
|Edgar Wright film soundtrack chronology|
The film's score by Pete Woodhead and Daniel Mudford is a pastiche of Italian zombie film soundtracks by artists like Goblin and Fabio Frizzi. It also uses many musical cues from the original Dawn of the Dead that were originally culled by George A. Romero from the De Wolfe production music library.
A short clip of the music video to The Smiths' single "Panic" is shown in the movie, where the line "Panic on the streets of London" is heard while Shaun is flicking through TV channels. Also the song "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen is heard in a scene at the pub where Shaun, Liz, and Ed bludgeon the zombified owner of the pub to the beat of the tune. Additionally, "Kernkraft 400" by Zombie Nation is heard during one scene while Shaun is on a bus. The US theatrical trailer also features "Pretend We're Dead" by L7 (from the Bricks Are Heavy album), although that song appears neither in the film nor on the soundtrack.
On the soundtrack album, dialogue from the film is embedded within the music tracks.
Pegg and Wright also scripted a one-off tie-in comic strip for the British comic magazine 2000AD entitled "There's Something About Mary". Set the day before the zombie outbreak, the strip follows and expands on the character of Mary, who appears briefly in the introductory credits, and is the first zombie whom Shaun and Ed are aware of, and details how she became a zombie. It features expanded appearances from many of the minor or background characters who appear in the film. The strip was made available on the DVD release of Shaun.
Shaun of the Dead, a zombie themed romantic comedy (or rom-zom-com as it dubs itself), concerns the misadventures of Shaun, a young man trapped in a rut, who is attempting to sort out his life, reconcile with his ex-girlfriend and settle his issues with his mother and stepfather, whilst simulataneously having to cope with an apocalyptic uprising of the undead that is causing society to collapse.
w:Hip Hop, Be Bop by Man Parrish plays
[Shaun is trying to persuade his mother to leave the zombified Phillip in the car]
[Zombified Phillip switches the music in the car off]
[Shaun has just discovered the zombies have returned and has a horrified look on his face. Dianne is going through TV channels]
[The music on the slot machine plays to signal Ed's win]
[They pull the plug out of the machine, but the damage is done. A horde of zombies converge on the windows and door]
|Shaun of the Dead|
|Directed by||Edgar Wright|
|Produced by||Nira Park|
|Written by|| Simon Pegg|
|Starring|| Simon Pegg|
|Distributed by|| United International Pictures|
|Release date(s)|| April 9, 2004 (UK)|
September 24, 2004 (USA)
|Running time||95 min.|
|Gross revenue||$30,039,392 (worldwide)|
Shaun of the Dead is a British zombie-themed romantic comedy movie. It was released in 2004. The movie was directed by Edgar Wright, who co-wrote it with Simon Pegg. It stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.