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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Indie Flicks

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ What do a 29 year-old man working for an electronics store and flesh eating zombies have in common? Apparently, quite a lot, according to the horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead, which spoofs classic zombie movies such as – you guessed it – Dawn of the Dead. Rather than mocking the zombie-like nature of individuals sucked into the conformity of mindless mall culture as Dawn does, Shaun of the Dead criticizes the drab monotony of the day to day life of someone who simply settles.

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Before the living dead begin to take over England, where the film takes place, there is a montage of shots of people mechanically living their mundane lives – they are already zombies. The hilarity of this film without a doubt outweighs its horror or politics.

    The main plot follows Shaun, played by Simon Pegg, who also co-wrote the script, who seems to have reached a breaking point in his life. His girlfriend has just dumped him, he has a strained relationship with his mother and stepfather, and he’s at a job that’s going nowhere.

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ The morning that Shaun realizes that he has to turn it all around, he wakes up to a whole new world where zombies are roaming the streets, eating the flesh of the living. Determined to save his mother and Liz (Kate Ashfield), his ex, Shaun decides to take matters into his own hands and fight off the zombies with his best friend and lazy sidekick, Ed (Nick Frost).

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ A great deal of the humor lies in the spoofing of classic horror movie tactics. The creepy, ethereal music is alongside quick, almost panicked cuts of ordinary activities. Shaun’s brushing his teeth! Cut. He’s flushing the toilet! Cut. He’s drinking his morning tea! Cut. The music and tensions also seem to heighten at mundane moments such as when Liz is leaving a voicemail on Shaun’s machine (gasp!), or Shaun’s step dad is visiting him at work (horrors!).

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ The film’s wit also lies in how it is extremely self-aware, even if the characters are not. The characters, particularly Shaun and Ed, are so wrapped up in trivialities that they fail to realize, for instance, that the girl wandering around in their backyard is a zombie, not drunk, as they first assume.

    The movie is mostly, but not all, laughs. Pegg and director/co-writer Edgar Wright manage to get in a few moments of genuine emotion. It is done with a slight of hand that makes the transitions from laughing to screaming to crying seem perfectly natural and, in a strange way, realistic.

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ The real horror in the movie seems to emerge during the human moments between the characters. One of the highlights of Shaun of the Dead is Shaun stepping up and accepting his role as the unlikely hero. Short, thin, and pasty is not what the audience has come to expect of the brave savior in most bloody horror films, but Shaun is so endearing that we can’t help but root for him as he struggles selflessly to save his loved ones.

    Halloween is less than a week away, and many enjoy popping in a scary slasher flick to set the spooky mood. This year I would recommend watching Shaun of the Dead, because unlike other horror movies, this one is trying to be funny.

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