Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Movie Pick - Shaun of the Dead

If my duty of being a film freak goes when it comes to Halloween, then it's a hard time to figure out what I should do. I didn't went to the video store to rent some horror flicks so I could have my own Halloween marathon. Instead I rented movies that never counted as horror, but there was one movie that was actually scary: Danny Boyle's Sunshine which was both a sci-fi mixed with horror elements, just like Alien.

So I went to the same video store to return the DVDs, then I bought what's perhaps the cheapest DVD I've ever bought. It costs $4.50 and it was a movie I've seen the first time and liked it, but through second viewing, it has the same effect on me. It didn't make me love more or less, but through this movie, it introduced me to zombies.

Shaun of the Dead is the first work from trio director Edgar Wright, actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Pegg plays the titicular character Shaun whose 29 year old life is directionless. He's bored at his job at a tech store, his girlfriend Liz quickly breaks up with him as their relationship only compiles with dates at the Winchester along with bringing his lazy best friend Ed (Nick Frost) and her roommates David and Dianne. Shaun also has troubles with his step father who married his mum Barbara. Shaun and Ed becomes unaware of an upcoming zombie apocalypse and when they finally figured that out, the duo grabs their cricket bat to destroy these zombies and save Liz and Barbara up to the Winchester.

Edgar Wright is the king of mashups. At any point he can bring one huge chunk of any genre and combine them into a fun and headbangingly chaotic story. So you want a rom com, but how do you make this new? Bring your mum into the scene? Yes. Why don't you put zombies in. This is what we call a zom com. And this is what the movie ultimately comes to.

Shaun is a romantic zombie and what I'm saying is that he has no brain. In fact he has one, but never uses it partly because a) Ed. He's always laying around the Winchester just to cheer him up only to have Shaun in trouble. Ed is that one fat sidekick archtype that always work and never get tired because we have that one chubby friend that is always in help even though he's a bit of a parasite to your life. The problem with that character is that Shaun and every other character who's friends with that one guy never expressed any conflict that guy did to put them down. So Ed here is either a person that has nothing to do or a nihilist who believes in nothing (from one scene after Shaun got dumped, Ed tells him ironically 'it's not the end of the world'). If you're watching, you have to decide for yourself.

Michael Jackson just died 
Shaun is a romantic zombie because b) there's nothing that fancy him. From the first five minutes he looked at Liz like she never exists and only saw her for the first time. In fact he never figure out anything about human life until everyone is literally a zombie.

Every Edgar Wright movie such as Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and Hot Fuzz is a coming of age story; a poor man's transition into becoming a real hero just to save his own life and everyone else's. Pegg and Wright writes it in a cunning yet clever manner that it turned zombies both funny and scary (cos let's face it, they are funny to look at).

Simon Pegg is at his funniest here channeling the Dude in The Big Lebowski as the lovable slacker while the rest of the supporting cast are being neurotic with the exception of Shaun's mum Barbara and Liz. I felt that there wasn't enough on-screen chemistry between Shaun and Barbera and that I couldn't buy into that relationship between them.

Ultimately though, Shaun of the Dead is a must see for anybody particularly horror lovers. It's a new perspective in zombies. And it's my pick for the Halloween period.

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