Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Simon Pegg, Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Penelope Wilton, Lucy Davis, Jessica Stevenson, Kate Ashfield
Directed by Edgar Wright
Distributed by Universal Home Video
As Dread Central’s resident zombie aficionado, I can honestly declare that Shaun of the Dead is not only one of the single best zombie movies ever made, but it’s also as close to perfect as a film can get. More on that in a bit … first the plot.
Shaun (Pegg) is a lovable everyman on the way to being a borderline loser. His best friend (Frost) is a bad influence, his girlfriend has dumped him, and life is throwing up all manner of crazy roadblocks in front of our hero. Little did he know that death would soon be doing the same thing as soon the unthinkable happens — the dead rise to feast upon the flesh of the living! It’s time for Shaun and company to rise to the occasion by dispatching the walking dead and saving those whom they love the most.
Shaun of the Dead has it all. It’s the most perfect blend of horror and comedy since Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein; and simply put, it has something for everyone, horror fan or not. However, it’s the horror fans who will truly appreciate this piece of fine film craftsmanship. The flick is riddled with in-jokes and homages aplenty, but they’re are handled is such a deft manner that they’re never distracting. Then there’s the gore. Oh, the lovely gore. Romero would be pleased. In fact, he was! So much so that both Pegg and Wright appeared in one of his own Dead flicks, Land of the Dead.
Now that the film has finally gotten the high-def treatment, it’s time to help you figure out if you should dump your DVD if you have the Blu-ray tech easily at hand. As expected, the video and audio presentation are stellar. I’ve watched Shaun countless times, and seeing it again on Blu-ray was akin to seeing it for the very first time. Since it was shot on film, there is a persistent amount of grain present, but it’s never distracting. The colors are vibrant, the blacks deep, and every gory detail looks nothing short of stunning. All this, coupled with a great 5.1 mix, equals quite the experience.
Then there are the special features. They’re as good as they are plentiful. Things kick off with four audio commentaries that, with the exception of the one featuring Shaun’s parents, Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilson, are all absolutely side-splitting and informative. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that the Nighy and Wilson track is bad. It’s just that after the other three, it’s apparently dry with more than a few stretches of dead air. Still, it’s definitely worth skimming through.
From there there’s a myriad of special features that have already appeared on DVD and cover every conceivable avenue from special effects to the replacement of the word “fuck” with “funk” to plot holes that are patched via running commentary and hand-drawn pictures. Really good stuff.
Finally, Universal’s U-Control feature lets you access all kinds of cool stuff via picture-in-picture window such as storyboards, missing bits, and of course the Zomb-O-Meter trivia track. This is a neat and fun way to dig on the flick, especially for those who have seen it more than a few times.
It’s good to have Shaun and the gang officially enter the high-definition arena. While this Blu-ray package is light on exclusive material, it’s absolutely packed to the gills with content, and the high-def transfer really sweetens the pot more than you would imagine. Don’t hesitate. Just get it.
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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