Shaun of the Dead (2004)

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Released 22-Mar-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Simon Pegg And Edgar Wright
Featurette-Simon And Edgar's Flip Chart
Featurette-SFX Comparison
Featurette-Make-Up Tests
Featurette-EPK Featurette
Gallery-Photo
Gallery-Poster-2000 Ad Strip
Featurette-Funky Pete
Featurette-The Man Who Would Be Shaun
Featurette-Plot Holes
Outtakes
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Commentary
Teaser Trailer-2
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots-2
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 95:14
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Edgar Wright
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Simon Pegg
Kate Ashfield
Nick Frost
Lucy Davis
Dylan Moran
Nicola Cunningham
Keir Mills
Matt Jaynes
Gavin Ferguson
Peter Serafinowicz
Horton Jupiter
Tim Baggaley
Arvind Doshi
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music John Deacon
Steven Patrick Morrissey
Dan Mudford


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (160Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.30:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Icelandic
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

The horror/comedy is a tough genre to get right. Many directors have tried to blend these respective genres over the years, but there are only a few examples where the end product emerged victorious. An American Werewolf in London, Return Of The Living Dead, Evil Dead 2, Fright Night, The Lost Boys, Dead Alive and more recently Bubba Ho-Tep immediately spring to mind as perfect examples of the genre. I'm happy to report that Shaun Of The Dead can now join this illustrious list as it is the best example of the horror/comedy to come down the line in quite some time.

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is your typical everyday slacker. He is content to drift through life with a minimum of effort and spend his evenings at the local pub with his overweight slob of a best friend, Ed (Nick Frost), and long suffering girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield). However, Liz is becoming frustrated with their relationship and demands changes, especially concerning their social agenda. Shaun, determined to save his relationship, has to convince Liz that he will get his priorities in order - the only thing stopping him is the fact that the dead have risen and are walking the earth.

Director Edgar Wright's Shaun Of The Dead is the best horror/comedy in years and it's a perfect mixture of laughs and undead mayhem. Co-written by lead actor Simon Pegg, the film's cult classic status is assured. The film was obviously made with the horror fan in mind and there are tons of references to other greats of the genre including George Romero's Dawn Of The Dead, and Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. The screenplay is both satirically and slapstick funny, but also has a well-rounded romantic drama as its core. That being said, the film doesn't shy away from gore scenes and there are some absolute shockers found here. Personally, I find there is nothing better than seeing an obnoxious, whiney nerd getting ripped apart by a swarm of salivating zombies, but that's just me.

So, if like me you're looking for a riotous time and you want to see one of the best horror flicks in quite some time, then spend a rewarding evening at the Winchester with Shaun and Ed.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

Shaun Of The Dead has been given a quality transfer.

The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2:40:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

Sharpness levels are reasonably strong. However there are a few minor aliasing anomalies found in the opening twenty minutes of the film. They are very minor and do not distract from the film. Shadow detail is exceptional, with abundant levels of depth and contrast. Grain is also noticeably absent from the image and there are no low level noise problems.

Colours are rendered with care. From the green lawns of the terraced neighbourhood to the bloody evisceration of the locals at the hands of rampaging zombies, the colours leap off the screen.

Universal have delivered a very pleasing picture for this DVD release.

The RSDL change is at the 78.04 minute mark and is well placed.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

Shaun Of The Dead has been given a first rate audio track in English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. There is also a 2.0 audio commentary track.

Dialogue is always clear and never loses clarity amongst the on-screen carnage, of which there is plenty. There were no audio sync problems.

The film's score suitably fits the material and is lovingly enhanced with several Queen songs, one scene in particular is a showstopper and uses Queen's Don't Stop Me Now to brilliant effect. I won't spoil it for you, but a jukebox malfunction at the Winchester was the highlight of the film for this reviewer.

Surround channel usage is first rate. The rear channels get a solid workout during the many zombie attack scenes and the directional field is clearly defined.

The subwoofer adds a potent reverberation to the sound effects throughout the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Animation & Audio

An animated Winchester themed menu. When an option is selected you are given a blood spattered zombie treat. A nice inclusion that indicates early that the film and disc have been given the TLC they deserve

Audio Commentary - Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg

This is what a commentary track should be, full of trivia and production stories and thankfully devoid of the dry technical jargon that usually accompanies a commentary track. Our two contributors are obviously very old friends and relish the opportunity to discuss the film with the fan in mind. Every fan of the film should listen to this track.

Featurette - Edgar and Simon's Flip Chart

Running about 13 minutes in length this unusual feature showcases the initial story boards for the film before production commenced. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg obviously had a passion for the project and put a lot of time and effort into getting the film greenlit. The enthusiasm shown by the two filmmakers is contagious and makes for interesting viewing.

Featurette - Special Effects Comparison

This short 2 minute feature highlights a couple of effects sequences from conception to completion.

Featurette - Make up Tests

As you would expect in a Zombie film, a quick look at the make up tests used in the film.

Featurette - EPK Featurette

The standard press kit feature found on any film, complete with nothing but praise for all involved.

Photo Gallery - The Zombies

Production stills of the assorted undead and the carnage they cause.

Photo Gallery - Location & Production

Typical on set stills and location set ups.

Featurette - Funky Pete

An alternate version of an early scene where Shaun's flatmate Pete and best friend Ed show their intense dislike for each other. Clearly this scene pales in comparison to the one used in the final cut.

Featurette - The Man Who Would Be Shaun

A tribute of sorts to the brilliant Sean Connery and Michael Caine scene in John Huston's classic Kipling fable The Man Who Would be King. Not overly funny, but not insulting either.

Featurette - Plot Holes

The filmmakers use the unused story boards to show what happened to certain characters during the film. A nice inclusion that highlights three character arcs. We discover how Shaun eluded the zombies at the Winchester, how Ed found his way to Shaun's shed and what Dianne's ultimate fate was.

Outtakes

10 minutes of the standard unused material that is occasionally funny. Basically if watching cast members forget their lines and bursting into laughter appeals to you then this featurette will please.

Deleted Scenes (Extended Bits)

14 deleted and extended scenes. Watching these scene extensions it's easy to see why they were cut. The jokes don't work, the pacing slows and the characters become too detached from the mayhem around them, however they are nice inclusions for the serious fan.

Teaser Trailer / Theatrical Trailer

Well presented anamorphic trailers in an aspect ratio of 1:85:1.

TV Spots

Two very brief, but funny, TV adds.

2000AD Comic Strip

As the title indicates this is a comic strip featured in the 2000AD magazine detailing the exploits of Mary, a checkout girl shown at the beginning of the film, and how she becomes one of the undead. The strip is titled `There's Something About Mary' and adds that extra bit of class to the extras list especially for the serious fan.

Poster Designs

A look at 10 different posters used to advertise the film. - A nice inclusion if you appreciate the advertising side of film making.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

All versions currently available are basically the same.

Summary

Director Edgar Wright's Shaun Of The Dead is the best horror/comedy in years and is equal parts comedy, blood and guts gore fest and sweet romantic interlude - figure that one out. The disc is very well presented in both the audio and visual areas and there are plenty of extras. This is a definite keeper.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Chris H
The DVD Bits - Sarah G
Digital Retribution - J.R. Mc
Michael D's Region 4 DVD Info Page - KerreK (Come on! read my bio.)

Comments (Add)
Synopsis / R2 version - Daniel B (read my bio)
R1 vs R2 vs R4 -
Glad you blokes liked it... -
re: Zombie Twins (contains spoiler) -
R2 Version -
Commentary on commentary -
DD 5.1 EX Soundtrack? - Mark X (read my bio)
DD EX - Tom (read my bio)
Are the problems with R2 disc on R4 as well? - Neil
R2 version currently only 2.98 @ amazon.co.uk -
SotD at JB for $12.98 -
I'll gladly pay the 2 bucks for the extra features -
I'd buy that for a dollar...or twelve. -