Saturday, January 31, 2009

Movie Journal: Shaun Of The Dead

Isn't it so often that a genre or category spoof seems to simply be making fun of itself? As great as Monty Python and the Holy Grail is, it's hard to shake the feeling that it's simply repeatedly mocking whatever it's actually drawing inspiration from. Somehow, I had felt Shaun Of The Dead would be much the same way. However, I found it to be quite the opposite. The reason for this is that it is a spoof that you can somehow actually take seriously.

In a way, Shaun Of The Dead is a very serious and personal film about man who doesn't know what to do with his life. On the other hand, it's a zombie movie spoof, in no way short on blood, gore, and intense dark humor. (Since when would you laugh at someone turning into a zombie and trying to eat people? That was a first for me.) These two elements contrast excellently and the result is a storyline bursting with energy as we watch a group of peculiar yet believable characters fight for survival in a zombie infested suburb.

The movie's first act is mesmerizing, as it shows us what Shaun's life is like day to day, while all the while we see things going on in the background: hints and clues leading up to what will be the beginning of the real story for Shaun. Once this movie really takes off, brace yourself. Things get more and more intense until the final act, when the characters become oppressed both physically and emotionally in an almost heart-wrenching series of events that leave you breathless. Whereas most spoofs seem to belittle stuff, anyone who's seen Shaun Of The Dead knows that zombie films are awesome.

8 out of 10

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