Monday, September 27, 2004

Shaun of the Dead

This weekend, when I was not fasting or eating kielbasa at the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria (that sounds a bit inconsistent - eating sausage when not observing Jewish customs), I saw the excellent Zombie/British cultural satire Shaun of the Dead.

Based on the commercials, the film definately had some potential - a lighthearted spoof of Zombie movies, which in light of the myriad undead films of late (28 Days Later and the remake of Dawn of the Dead), could be very entertaining. What made this a cut above was how well it used this format for a humorous yet not too obvious mockery of contemporary culture - how essentially living in a service based economy society, where everone around you wears salesman nametags, isn't that far off from a world of Zombies. That is obviously not a completely novel idea to present, but the specific jokes that are made along the way to support that premise are original enough to make it very entertaining.

Perhaps what made the film hit home for me was how damn English it was. As a recent resident of Oxford last fall, I am always up for good British humor and Shaun had a healthy dose - plenty of pub culture, waiting in queues, and references to the Stone Roses critical flop, Second Coming. From the moment the opening shot started with The Specials' "Ghost Town," I knew this film could not fail.

Extra points for two members of The Office crew, Lucy Davis and Martin Freeman, making an appearance in the film. The Office is one of the funniest TV shows of the moment - an English Curb Your Enthusiasm set in an office in Slough, a podunk English city.


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