Eye For Film >> Movies >> Shaun Of The Dead (2004) DVD Review
Shaun Of The Dead
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe MurrayRead Jennie Kermode's film review of Shaun Of The Dead
The Shaun extras are truly in the spirit of the film, consistently enjoyable in a who-gives-a-monkeys style. The concept of po-faced interviews, or Making Of featurettes, which have become DVD double disc standards, is so far from where Simon Pegg and co-writer/director Edgar Wright are coming from that if they even attempted to be serious everyone else would crack up.
The package is full to bursting, which implies that someone was thinking about the DVD before shooting started. There are a bunch of video shorts that follow the actors about, which are relaxed and silly. What makes them work is that no one is trying to be funny. They just are and they make each other laugh - all the time. The Outtakes are a series of scenes in which Pegg and Nick Frost get the giggles and you wonder how on earth they ever managed to finish the movie.
Probably the best of these is Joe Cornish's cam diary of a day in the life of a zombie extra. He and his pal John arrive an hour late at Ealing Studios, expecting to be told to go away ("We're too slack for the movie business"), despite protestations of bad traffic and the usual pathetic excuses. Instead, they are promised, "You two might be shot later - riddled with bullets." Joe is delighted. They head for make-up where a tiny, extremely young and attractive South East Asian girl daubs them with fake blood. "I love my gaping axe wound," Joe says. They learn how to be shot and then do it before the cameras. John is grinning his head off and Joe thinks the whole thing is a hoot. They stay in character on the way back to London, making zombie faces at other car drivers. Joe insists on dropping in to his parents unannounced, looking like road kill. His father seems shocked; his mother can't stop laughing.
Simon says at one point, "We didn't want to make a spoof. We wanted to make a comedy and a horror film at the same time." Although Edgar says that Shaun "is the most laid back zombie film ever," they are serious about it and you can tell, even though they don't like to be seen agonising over artistic choices, or precious lines of dialogue. In the commentary-on Extended Bits, Simon and Edgar talk about the scenes they had to lose and why. It's usually to do with pace and keeping the thing moving and yet there is good stuff being left on the cutting room floor. "One of the scenes we took ages writing," Simon says, with a tinge of regret.
Even the extras that don't do much are still entertaining, until the zombiefication of suburbia becomes an increasingly pleasurable prospect. Certainly "the performers" are loving every minute. "My name is Lauren. I have been a zombie for 20 minutes." She has the make up, the spooky eyes and the wide, bright smile.
There are four audio commentary tracks, one with Simon and Edgar, another with the five main actors, another with Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton and, finally, one with The Zombies. Unfortunately, none of them worked on my check disc.
This is a mixed bag of goodies, well worth your time.Reviewed on: 10 Sep 2004