Jump, scream -- and laugh

'Shaun of the Dead' -- R

In the past couple of years, the movie industry has distributed a handful of zombie flicks. If you're in the mood for an action zombie flick, the "Resident Evil" series is for you. If you're in the mood for horror, then "28 Days Later" or Zack Snyder's re-imagined "Dawn of the Dead" fits the bill.

And if you're looking for a romantic zombie comedy, check out the new "Shaun of the Dead," co-written by Simon Pegg, who stars as Shaun, and Edgar Wright, who directs.

The story begins with Shaun, an electronics salesman who enjoys hanging out at the local pub with his best buddy Ed (Nick Frost,) and misses his ex-girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), who recently dumped him. He goes about life in a stupor, staring at the TV while mindlessly channel surfing, walking to the convenience store without noticing anything around him, not even all the zombies on the streets of London. Until one day, when he and Ed watch a news segment and realize the monsters have taken over. They panic and craft a plan to rescue Shaun's mother and Liz and then go to the pub until the whole zombie thing blows over.

Meanwhile, Shaun tries to win Liz back. Sometimes the romantic aspects of this comedy are hard to swallow. For instance, when Shaun gets in a fight over Liz with her best friend, who is a guy, it is hard to take seriously.


The zombie parts work better, however. They make you jump and scream -- and laugh. The gore adds to it all. Scenes where zombies are shot and helpless victims are torn apart, for instance, either feed the shock or the laughs.

Much of the comedy comes from the writing, but most of it comes from the central idea of the film, such as the part when the gang re-enact the movements of the zombies to try to escape or when they do some zombie bashing with Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" playing loudly in the background.

Mixed into the humor and horror, however, is a statement from the filmmakers. Namely, how are we -- roaming the streets, not noticing one another because we're too busy on our cell phones or listening to our MP3 players -- different from zombies? The ending leaves that open for debate by asking: Do these characters live or die in this already dead civilization? The answer is among the most realistic yet in a zombie movie.

The message, humor, romance and horror all add up to one satisfying movie-going experience.

Max Arnzen is a senior at John Marshall High School and a post-secondary education option student at Rochester Community &; Technical College. To respond to reviews in Sound &; Vision, call 252-1111, category TEEN (8336) or send e-mail to

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