I'm by no means an expert on zombie movies. Hell, 28 Days Later was the first one I saw, and it failed to make a great impression on zombie movies as a whole. However, when I saw Dawn of the Dead earlier this year, I had a permanent respect for the genre. I have since seen the original Night of the Living Dead and plan to see Day of the Dead and the original Dawn of the Dead. Was I ready for a zombie spoof, though? I knew a few spoofs would go over my head, but Shaun of the Dead looked like a pretty funny movie, so why not? Plot: 1.42: Despite some people saying this movie uses zombies as backdrop, it is a zombie movie through and through. This isn't a romantic comedy with zombies, it's a zombie movie with romantic elements. That being said, Shaun does have a sufficient plot for a no-brainer zombie comedy. Shaun (Pegg) is a 29 year old loser. He works at a job with high-schoolers. His girlfriend Liz (Ashfield) dumped him because of him being unreliable. He is the constant mediator between his flatmates, the workaholic Pete (Serafinowicz) and useless, penniless Ed (Frost). He also sees his mother Barbara (Wilton) very rarely and hates his stepdad Phillip (Nighy). That's his life before it happens. It started a night after Shaun and Ed got wasted to forget about Liz. Shaun has set a goal to get Liz back, see his mother and set his life in order when Ed finds a girl moping around their backyard. When Ed and Shaun investigate, they find out she is trying to bite them and she can live through having a metal pole shoved through her stomach. Soon, a couple more like her arrive. They watch TV to find out that there is an epidemic of crazed behaviour. The attackers will not stop barbaric cannibalism unless their brain is neutralized. In other words, zombism. After finding that Pete has been bitten, Shaun and Ed make a plan to pick up Barbara and Liz, also ending up taking Phillip and Liz's flatmates, twat (that's the word they use) David (Moran) and failed actress Dianne (Davis). They decide the best place to hole up is Ed's favourite pub, the Winchester. The rest of the movie is what happens once they are in the Winchester. For a movie that combines the two genres (comedy and horror) that are often the most stupid, the plot of Shaun of the Dead is about as good as anyone could expect. It's not a twisty one, very linear, but simple enough to be an easy watch but not seem stupid.
Comedy: 1.82: This movie is British humour at it's best. Whether it's Ed's utter incompetence or Shaun's zombie denial, SotD is one funny movie. The only problem is it's not everyone's type of comedy. British comedy isn't for everyone. There is some bits that are really in-your-face, such as orchestrated zombie beating or the final newsreel montage, but there are many more subtle bits. Also, some of the bits are there for people who rewatch the movie to make connections, as there is a lot of foreshadowing that is hilarious the second time. If this is your type of comedy, this is your type of movie. With zombies. It also helps to have at least some knowledge of zombie movies, or else many references and spoofs will go over your head.
Horror: 1.62: For a movie based mainly on comedy, Shaun of the Dead is extremely gory. It is probably gorier than Kill Bill Volume Two or Dawn of the Dead, maybe even the Passion. As much as I like gore, it does not add much to the horror factor. While many scenes are frightening, Shaun doesn't attempt to be a horror movie out and out. The aforementioned scene involving an orchestrated zombie beating could have been scary as hell without pool cues and Queen. What it does attempt is done very well, so I give it credit here.
Acting: 1.92: I thought the acting was very good. Simon Pegg was a great Shaun. Moran, whom I've seen on Just for Laughs before, was excellent as David. And let's not forget Bill Nighy (Underworld) as the stepdad Phillip. Nick Frost didn't do an excellent job, but he was the scene stealer. Granted, any actor on a half-decent day could pull off that feat with the material he had. Another special mention to Penelope Wilton, who I thought played a great Barbara.
Entertainment: 1.72: It all depends if you like this type of humour. If you like British humour, even though this isn't as outlandish as Monty Python, you will like this. If you are a zombie movie fan, you will like this. Exclude those two things and this is not your type of movie.
Bonus +.1 for this: Ed plays none other than TimeSplitters 2 throughout the movie. I almost fell off my couch. For those who are non-gamers, TS2 is the best split-screen multiplayer game ever created (on this generation) and it's on all three major systems. Seeing this game here just made me smile. It's does have some zombies in it, so it's not completely out of place, but I would think something like Resident Evil would be more appropriate.
Total: 85%: Shaun of the Dead is simply hilarious, so I highly recommend it for those who like this kind of humour and mildly recommend for those who don't. It's also great for the gore aficionado on your list. It is one that I personally am going to buy, so it is one that I believed was good enough to own.
Review by JimD73 from the Internet Movie Database.