Shaun (Simon Pegg) is stuck in a rut: his days are spent in a cruddy job; his nights in his local pub with his lazy best mate Ed (Nick Frost).
He’s lacking in vision and seems unwilling to do anything about it – so his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) decides she has had enough and dumps him.
What stirs Shaun into action however is the fact that the next morning the dead rise from their graves and begin to terrorise the earth, prompting him to launch a rescue mission to save his (ex-) girlfriend and his mother.
Written by Pegg and Edgar Wright, who also directed it, the film stemmed from an episode of the TV sitcom Spaced (which the pair also created) where Pegg’s character became obsessed with a computer game and convinced that everyone around him was a zombie.
Though many of the Spaced cast appear in Shaun of the Dead, it is much more than an extended episode of the series. In fact categorisation seems almost pointless when discussing it: gushing with gags, from slapstick to pastiche to jokes, it starts as an all-out comedy but slowly and seamlessly moves into tension, drama and moments of true horror before that final act which is it is both tragic and genuinely moving.
The cast are great full of familiar faces and actors like Dylan Moran and Lucy Davis do a good job smashing their previous TV sitcom personas.
Pegg and Frost are a delight – and the underlying theme of male companionship, growing up and the taking-on of adult responsibility is pitched perfectly.
More intelligent than a horror spoof, Shaun of the Dead pays homage to the true masters of the zombie film genre with its in-jokes, its slow-moving monsters and in its comparison between the trudging undead and the monotony of everyday life for the living (something which 28 Days Later and the recent remake of Dawn of the Dead utterly failed to do).
It is also as gory and horrific as any of George Romero or Lucio Fulci’s classics – so make sure you don’t watch it on a full stomach.
Shaun of the Dead is unmissable and the DVD is head-wrenchingly filled with extras that will keep you happy for days.