Shaun of the Dead, written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg (Shaun), Nick Frost (Ed), Kate Ashfield (Liz), Lucy Davis (Dianne), Dylan Moran (David) and Nicola Cunningham (Mary) (2004): Pegg, Frost and Wright made the jump from the loveable BBC series Spaced to the big screen here with this part-satire, part-straight take on zombies and the film geeks who love them. It’s become a cult classic, and deservedly so — it’s sharp and funny.

Shaun is a retail drone (the movie overtly and repeatedly hammers us with the idea that modern jobs, and modern life in general, have made zombies of us all) saddled with a hilariously lumpen best friend, Ed, who messes up the apartment they share and steadfastly refuses to get a job. Shaun’s having girlfriend troubles, partially because of Ed and partially because the only thing Shaun wants to do after work is have a few pints at the Winchester Pub.

Zombies really shake things up, and soon Shaun is the only remotely competent person in his group of survivors (which includes his girlfriend Liz’s roommate and her boyfriend, Shaun’s mother, and Shaun’s stepdad). Who will survive and what will be left of them?

As with the later Pegg/Frost/Wright movie Hot Fuzz, comedy gives way to (relatively) straightforward action over the last 20 minutes of the movie. One’s reaction to this will depend a lot on how many zombie movies you’ve seen and how funny you think the blood-and-gore stuff is. All in all, a dandy movie. Highly recommended.

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