At the height of zombie-madness in Hollywood, no one really expected a comedy from a group of largely unheard-of British actors and a British director without any big-name films under his belt to make more than a slight ripple. They were wrong. Shaun of the Dead continues to live up to the cult status; it's a brilliant homage/parody to the genre and just endlessly clever. Some of the really fresh and exciting elements about it no longer feel that unusual, mainly because Edgar Wright has gone on to reuse them in all of his films (like the rapid-cut montage sequences, overcut with humorous voicover explanations), but they still hold up as excellent examples of their type.
What I'd forgotten is just how ridiculously great the cast is. Whilst the big breakout stars of the film were obviously Pegg and Frost, they're backed up by the likes of Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Bill Nye, and Peter Serafinowicz, with cameos from the likes of Matt Lucas and Martin freakin' Freeman! I mean, even the big-mouth kid at Shaun's day job has grown up to by Rafe Spall. It's all a bit nuts, in retrospect, but it means that the humour just works brilliantly.
I'd also forgotten how much fun the film has setting up the almost non-existent difference in how people are acting in London before/after becoming zombies, as well as just how perfectly it skewers a British reaction to the apocalypse (with Shaun's mum being the ideal example). The movie is packed with these subtle pieces of observational humour, alongside more brazen parodies of famous scenes from other "living dead" flicks, that ensure it remains extremely funny from start to finish.
The result stands up extremely well as both a comedy and as a cultural critique, whilst the general script and direction are as tight as ever. Plus, whilst this is the closest to being both a genuine parody and an actual horror film of the three, the fact this spawned the Cornetto Trilogy (plus it's American cousin, Paul) will forever make it a classic worthy of your time. The ideal start to Halloween, too 🎃