Picks and Pans Review: Shaun of the Dead
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis
Shaun is so used to the human detritus that's part of day-to-day urban life that when zombies start stumbling around his North London neighborhood, he assumes they're homeless, loony, drunk or all three. It is only after two zombies try to break into his house that Shaun (Pegg), a 29-year-old slacker, and his loutish flatmate Ed (Frost) finally look up from their video games to notice that something's amiss.
Shaun of the Dead—the title spoofs Dawn of the Dead, the classic 1978 cheapie chiller remade earlier this year—cheerily lampoons zombie flicks (why do the undead always lurch along as if they'd just had electric shock treament?) while paying fond obeisance to their conventions. And it's ever so British; even as Shaun is braining zombies with a cricket bat—the only way to stop them is by decapitation or a forceful blow to the head—he still finds time to pop 'round to Mum's for a cup of tea. Pegg, who cowrote Shaun with director Edgar Wright (the two earlier teamed on Spaced, a popular English sitcom), shows off expert timing, whacking punchlines and zombies with equal panache. (R)