What is to be said of this magnificent film? It has done so much for not just the horror genre, but the cinematic landscape of the 21st century, despite being nothing more than a simple horror comedy. On it's release in 2004, it reinvigorated both the horror genre and the zombie film, it brought the oft-maligned horror comedy sub-genre into the mainstream, proving the two genres could work together, it created more widespread international interest in British film, launched the careers of a talented director in Edgar Wright, and comedic geniuses in acting duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and it did so much more than even that. There's good reason this little flick went from a cult hit, to a bona-fide classic the world over. It's simply a superb marriage of horror and comedy, but with a cast and crew full of genuine talent, and a beating heart beneath it's carnage and laughter. It's clear the film was a labor of love for everyone involved, chock full of references to cult films and pop culture. The comedy is the best sort of British humor, wry and sly, never too over the top, but not as somber as some British comedies become.
It's also full of witty subtext, if one notices small touches, like how Shaun's existence is so dreary and "zombie-like" that at first, he doesn't even notice the apocalypse around him. And as the icing on the cake, it becomes a full fledged horror film by the end, delivering some incredibly well directed moments of tension and gore. Not all horror comedies deliver the goods in equal doses, but this one does. It's most often overlooked aspect however, is it's complex emotional core. At moments it's sincere and sweet enough to put a tear in one's eye, whether it's the loveable bromance between Shaun and Ed, or the complex romance of Shaun and Liz. Even it's side characters are given much more nuanced characterization than many films of it's ilk. The quiet emotional moments are the ones that really stick with me, and the film makes some mature and effecting observations on friendship and midlife crisis. All of this is anchored by a truly flawless cast, that's absolutely perfect down to the bit parts. It's truly a perfect example of how to do a horror comedy right, and a genuine classic. Our cinematic landscape wouldn't be what it is without Shaun, and we're better off for it.
My Rating: 9/10