A pie-throwing, Maxim-Nintendo-stoner-pub-lad parody of the George Romero paradigm, Shaun of the Dead might be the sign that flesh-eating zombies have finally run their course as a usable pop-cult idea. The fresh news is that, once you acclimate to the movie’s bruising, half-drunken obviousness, it’s a cunty larff. The titular hero (co-writer Simon Pegg) is a dim sod whose ale-soaked romantic travails run the story in circles around the slow-moving living dead, but the film is funniest when he’s so hungover he doesn’t notice the apocalypse around him. The eventual resort to beating walking corpses with a cricket bat leads the film to an aimless final act, but the actors are all on target (particularly Penelope Wilton as Shaun’s relentlessly cheery mum), and taken on its own shaky legs it’s a wittier genre coda than Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 14, 2004