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EDGAR WRIGHT & SIMON PEGG'S CREATION 'SHAUN OF THE DEAD'

Nicola Cunningham as Bloody Maryignites SHAUN OF THE DEAD Year: 2004 Rates: *****

In the first five minutes of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, director Edgar Wright establishes himself as a great filmmaker, and for economical reasons, showcasing a group of five British twenty-somethings... consisting of a couple-in-trouble, the guy's friend that caused the trouble and her own two influential chums... as if they weren't crowded within the same small section of the local hangout pub...

This snappy prologue also works not only for the sake of introductory laughs but establishes the characters in what's a character-driven zombie flick that basically reignited a whole new British New Wave...

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD

Most already know the backstory between Wright and his thereafter Cornetto Trilogy leading man Simon Pegg, here as SHAUN and who, from 1999 to 2001, starred in their sit-com-parody-sit-com SPACED alongside his always lovably dense, extremely chubby and affably worthless sidekick Nick Frost... and not since CLERKS has the theme of a regular guy choosing between his BFF and girlfriend been so hilarious and, in this case, endearing...

And then there's Wright, the quirky modern-auteur who, backed by a sea of groovy tunes related not only to the film's pace but the plot and its people, introduces his omnipresent, energetically-charged, ultra-stylistic camera-movements flowing sublimely alongside the editing in a hyperactive barrage of pinpointed quick cuts, which makes not only the action sequences shine but ignites even common stuff like having a cup of tea, or taking an everyday piss...

Dylan Moran mirrors Dustin Hoffman from Straw Dogs in SHAUN OF THE DEAD

Meanwhile even the antagonistic jerk-types are relatable and human, including Shawn's grouchy flatmate Peter Serafinowicz as Pete along with a shifty and goading, envious Dylan Moran, secretly smitten with Shaun's perfect girlfriend Kate Ashfield as Liz who (along with her own best bud Lucy Davis as Dianne) embodies the comparably straight character, forcing Shaun to progress in life... and she's not alone...

Along with his monotone step-dad Bill Nighy and sunny mum Penelope Wilton, our unlikely hero, even while battling an ongoing assault of eclectic zombies, has to simultaneously save his friends and grow up, which is a lot to juggle for both SHAUN and the frantic yet concentrated plot-line that, thanks to Wright/Pegg's combined synergy of yesterday's pop culture during these desperately nostalgic modern times, works on all levels, and beyond.

Kate Ashfield in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Kate Ashfield in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Lucy Davis and Dylan Moran in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Peter Serafinowicz  in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Nicola Cunningham and Mark Donovan in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Nicola Cunningham and Mark Donovan in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Peter Serafinowicz  in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Kate Ashfield in SHAUN OF THE DEAD with Dylan Moran and Lucy Davis
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Jessica Stevenson in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
SPACED co-stars Jessica Stevenson and Lucy Deakins in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Lucy Davis in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Kate Ashfield in SHAUN OF THE DEAD with Steve Emerson (Queen song scene)
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD with Kate Ashfield
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD with Lucy Davis
SPACED co-stars Jessica Stevenson and Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Simon Pegg & Nick Frost in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Simon Pegg & Nick Frost in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Simon Pegg & Bill Nighy in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Nicola Cunningham as Bloody Mary in SHAUN OF THE DEAD with Simon Pegg
Nicola Cunningham cameo in beginning of The World's End with Simon Pegg
Nicola Cunningham in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Nicola Cunningham in Trauma with Colin Firth
Nicola Cunningham in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Zombie battler Simon Pegg in SHAUN OF THE DEAD from 2004
Simon Pegg battling zombies years before in SPACED from 1999
Simon Pegg and Dylan Moran in SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Intro to SHAUN OF THE DEAD

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