The Null Device
Shaun of the Dead
I just got around to watching Shaun of the Dead
, the latest zombie flick to have come out of Britain in the last few years. It was entertaining enough, in a lighthearted way; a cross between a smugly feel-good britcom (it is, after all, from Working Title, who are responsible for most of the British films with mass appeal over the past decade or so) and an early Peter Jackson splatter film; blood, guts, middle-class relationship-issue angst and huge dollops quintessential Englishness. As one would expect from Working Title, it's a stylish package, with meticulous attention to detail (even the cheapness of the zombie effects was undoubtedly art-directed to the last detail, footnoted with references to John Romero and the like), and packed with elements to appeal to as many segments of the audience as possible. It's set in a reasonably leafy, suburban part of North London, considerably more middle-class and pleasant than the high-rises of 28 Days Later
(Danny Boyle's edgier brit-zombie flick), and doubly more so than the Ken Loach-esque kitchen-sink grimness of Dead Creatures
(the best of the recent wave of British zombie films, in my opinion), and also is a much lighter affair (don't expect meditations on the dark side of human nature or the plight of those who fall between the cracks; this is essentially a feelgood flick; having said that, the film's take on the lasting influences of the zombie phenomenon, with the undead being pressed into service-industry jobs and TV game shows, were amusing, and possibly worthy of expansion).
The cast featured some familiar faces to watchers of recent British TV comedy; one I noticed (from the credit) was Look Around You's Peter Serafinowicz as the barman; Black Books' Dylan Moran also made an entry as an irritatingly smug prig of a housemate.
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