Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Genre(s): Comedy / Horror
Universal || R - 99 minutes - $14.98 || December 21, 2004
Reviewer: Chris Gonzalez || Posted On: 2004-12-30


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Edgar White
Writer(s): Edgar White (written by) & Simon Pegg (written by)
Cast: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran


Theatrical Release Date: September 24, 2004


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director/Co-Writer & Co-Writer/Actor Commentary
  • Cast Commentary
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Casting Tapes
  • Video Diary
  • Studio Pitch
  • Special Effects Comparisons
  • Make-Up Tests
  • Extended Scenes of the TV Shows
  • Photo Gallery
  • Ad Campaigns
  • Theatrical Poster Design Concepts


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Pitched as a romantic comedy with zombies Shaun of the Dead was a pleasant surprise when it arrived in theaters this past September. It received rave reviews and the few who saw it loved it. This is the sort of film destined to become a huge hit in the rentals area and a favorite of teens for random renting.

The film isnít a spoof of zombie horror flicks, but it comes close, as the happenings of almost every zombie film take place, except most of it inspires laughter rather than screams. The exchanges between best friends Ed and Shaun provides for the biggest laughs as well as other brilliant scenes as when the six survivors meet up with an almost identical group.

Since the film is British you get a lot of great British humor, full of dry wit, sarcasm, and subtle gestures as opposed to toiler humor or slapstick, even if the huge amounts of gore provide for some great laughs. Even when the comedy/horror starts to become serious everyone involved handles it well and makes for an extremely entertaining film even if you wonít be ranting about it or remember it in a few months.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

For a single disc release there is a very good amount of fun and informative material provided. Two commentary tracks are included. The first track is from the director and star who also wrote the film Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. Itís a very light, funny, and mostly informative track with a good balance of behind the scenes info and useless but fun little facts and harmless banter. It isnít the most substantial commentary every recorded but it is a good one and there is hardly a quiet moment. The other track includes the five main actors including Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, and Dylan Moran. There are references by Pegg to the previous commentary and they mostly just fool around with each other but most of it is funny and interesting. All five of them are amusing, especially Dylan Moran whenever he adds a comment or two. Whenever someone tries to make a serious comment itís thrown off by more comedy so it provides for a very fun track.

Under the section titled Raw Meat are six video featurettes detailing the production of the film. First up is Simon Peggs Video Diary which runs seven minutes and is a short but informative look at the shooting of the film. It consists mostly of Nick Frost getting a shot in his backside and a hilarious Star Wars joke. Next are Casting Tapes which simply show the actors auditioning for their roles or reading through segments of the script; it runs four minutes. Edgar and Simons Film Chart is a thirteen minute segment showing how the writers of the film pitched it to the studio by using huge sheets as storyboards and script points. Itís a rather dull segment but harmless. The SFX Comparison shows how two specific shots were done using green screen, CG elements, and the original footage. The Make-Up tests consists of the zombies walking around to some music for two minutes. Lastly the EPK featurette is a comprehensive video of cast and crew interviews talking about the film.

A section called TV Bits shows four extended versions of the television clips seen at the end of the film showing what the media world made of the zombies. The best of the four is titled Fun Dead. It is easily the most insane, random, and bizarre feature on the disc.

Missing Bits is an area with an amusing clean version of a vulgar scene, eleven minute outtakes, fifteen extended or alternate scenes, and the best feature on the disc which is called Plot Holes. This feature tells the story of what happened to characters off screen using comic book drawings and narration by the characters.

Rounding off the extras are a photo gallery, the 2000 Ad Strip, Poster Designs, and the Theatrical Trailer. The menu design is really fantastic and sets a great mood for the whole disc.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Shot in 2.35:1 the transfer isnít perfect but it is a decent one given the material. The whole thing looks a bit soft and grainy during the darker scenes but overall there isnít much edge enhancement, colors seem fine, and there isnít anything that going to distract you from enjoying it. In the audio department the only way up would be a DTS track which isnít provided. The Dolby Digital track given is a great one. Itís appropriately loud and given the many thumps and quick, loud camera zooms and movements you get a lot of LFE action. The film is a bit front heavy but there are some very nice surround effects when the chaos beings. The best example is the bar scene towards the end of the film when exploding shells will ricochet from one speaker to the next.



.::OVERALL::.

This is a more than worthy disc of an entertaining zombie romp. The film has a lot of repeat value, the features are good, and the commentary tracks are worth a listen if youíre interested. The attitude of the film is a very fun one, and that mood transfers over very well onto basically everything else on the disc Rent it or buy it and youíre pretty much guaranteed a good time.