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October horror movie marathon: Shaun of the Dead

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Before you delve into this review, be sure to take a look at the rest of the Halloween marathon!

Shaun of the Dead

The feature-length debut of film every student’s favourite film director, besides, maybe, Wes Anderson (Tim Burton lost out in recent years). Edgar Wright. 

Loosely based on an episode from Wright’s beloved TV show, Spaced and heavily inspired by the work of George A. Romero, it was a smash hit upon release and went on to become a cult phenomenon. 

When it comes to zombie movies, it’s challenging to come up with an original plot. Still, Wright is more about original executions rather than original stories, so Shaun of the Dead gave him a playground to show the whole world what he was capable of. He turned the genre on its head.

Much like indie legends before him (Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater), Wright put painstaking amounts of effort and money into the most important thing about the film: the soundtrack. Using music such as Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen to perfectly juxtapose the entire situation and songs like Ghost Town by The Specials to completely sum up the whole movie.

The script is particularly important to Wright, as he filled it with a lifetime’s worth of movie references, subtle details (ones that have now been picked up on, such as Ed’s plan in the bar coming true throughout the movie) and brilliant character development throughout. Of course, there’s no forgetting the brilliant humour.

Using a large majority of the cast from Spaced (literally almost all of them) allows for maximum chemistry between the cast. Such chemistry that led to some of the best comedy work of all time. 

It’s really the camera and editing work were Wright’s style comes in. His writing is for sure a large part of it but his signature style of whip pans, quick editing, editing to music, near-perfect blocking and choreography. All of which have gone on to inspire new filmmakers and students across the globe.

As mentioned in my review of Zombieland, it’s a shame that Shaun of the Dead‘s massive success didn’t equate to more in the zombie genre itself, however, the movie (and everyone involved) got their due diligence as the film skyrocketed everyone’s careers and went on to influence cinema as a whole – an effect which can still be seen today.

Rating = 5/5

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