SHAUN OF THE DEAD: an undead comedy
By: el Kay Takhel
It’s been a week since the Oscars and all the hullabaloo surrounding the day, a day when a few films, from a slew of a well-made bunch, are chosen and celebrated. So it would not be wrong for one to expect to talk about some of these films today. But, no, we’ve been force-fed enough information/hearsay about the greatest films from last year. So today, we are with a film from the not so distant past.
The film today has been touted as one of the best/funniest genre mash-ups ever made and is also one of my personal favorites. “Shaun of the Dead” might be a film familiar to many, but to those who are not, I highly recommend a quick view and I’m pretty sure many, though not all of you fine folks would find it automatically end up in your ‘Favorites’ list and may even go for multiple viewings.
The movie is about two BFF’s Shaun and Ed and their struggle for survival in a zombie apocalypse. Now that’s not all, amidst all the chaos there is Shaun’s own side of a chaotic tale where he tries to come to terms with his own life, career, his efforts to rid his romantic woes, struggles to mend his relationship with his mother, step-father, his girl and his own friend, Ed. On the other hand, Ed (Shaun’s roomie cum best friend) is worried about nothing, not his life, career nor the zombie apocalypse, zilch; he wants nothing but to drink beer, smoke weed, play games on his playstation and yes, a ‘Cornetto.’
Shaun and Ed, the two friends consumed by sloth and their never ending need to ‘party’ and be careless about almost everything else is a nagging thorn in the side for Shaun’s more balanced, smart yet loving girlfriend, Liz. Liz is always complaining of Shaun’s love for the pub – the Winchester and how they always end up going there and even to the extent of saying that he loves the Pub more than her. With this troubling his life and more, the dead starts coming back to life, yet Shaun is more concerned about getting back with his girlfriend and Ed his concern is that they won’t be getting to drink chilled beer anymore. So it is to everyone else’s annoyance that Shaun and Ed decide to take their small band of survivors (him, Ed, Liz, Shaun’s mother and Liz’s two friends) to his imagined fortress- the Winchester.
The movie is a comedy (‘a romantic comedy. with zombies’ according to the posters) no doubt, but it is not a laughathon like the audiences of “Bollywood” India are used to; what with their nonsensical loud, excessive and in-your-face jokes, where the audiences have to be told that the actors just made a funny scene and that now everyone should have a go at laughter, no sir. The comedy is there, but it has to grow on you, like a mold or a fungus. It’s more about the situation and the embarrassment that they are so well suited to handle it.
As for the zombies, the actors are the least bothered with them and everyone is more concerned their own little agendas. And this is a good thing since we have all seen zombie movies and there is quite a lot of them, such that if there were to be any such outbreak in ‘real’ life, all of the zombie aficionados would be more than capable of ending the catastrophe single-handed; yes we know of innumerable ways to kill a zombie and that isn’t hard work especially since they move so slow. So as I said, this movie has zombies as their last priority and that is good.
The movie stars Simon Pegg as Shaun, Nick Frost as Ed, Bill Nighy as Shaun’s step-dad. Now Simon Pegg is a good comedian. Whenever he is on screen he brings forth a concoction of his own brand of British comedy that I absolutely adore and which just works. Nick Frost as Ed the useless, sloth of a friend is also bang on for the role, and that’s not just because he’s overweight. As for Bill Nighy, he’s Bill Nighy. The other characters are also well cast, not memorable but in the strange mixture, combined with the even stranger storyline, they make it work.
The movie has been presented in such a way that everyone still maintains his or her slow pace even in the face of urgent danger. The director has made good use of smart camerawork, a crisp and entertaining storyline to make this movie an instant cult classic.
So for any moviegoer, a lover of many genres like me, I strongly recommend a quick eyeballing of this flick when one feels there is nothing else to stoke interest around you. So till next time, “You’ve got red on you.” And remember, aim for the head.