Over 35 years after Night of the Living Dead, Edgar Wright resurrected the zombie genre with Shaun of the Dead, a romantic comedy featuring Queen, cannibals, and cricket paddles. Wright's film took the dead genre and brought it back to life, giving it a comic twist. Of course, he didn't scrimp on the gore either — Shaun of the Dead is the perfect combo of laughs, scares, and tear-jerking drama.
The story follows a slacker named Shaun (Simon Pegg) who's forced to grow up when the zombie apocalypse descends upon his little British town. With the help of his best friend Ed (Nick Frost), Shaun goes on a quest to save his friends and family, rescue his relationship, and work out some long-simmering issues with his stepdad. Thanks to Wright's expert use of editing and music, the movie is filled with brilliant comic touches, from the record tossing battle to the "Don't Stop Me Now" showdown. And with Pegg and Wright penning the screenplay, Shaun of the Dead is basically the blueprint of how to write the perfect comedy. Just listen to that Nick Frost monologue that sets up the rest of the film. It's brilliant.
But all laughs and no feels make for a boring movie, and that's where Shaun of the Dead rises above your typical horror-comedy. Sure, the characters are goofy, but they're real, so when they experience pain and sadness, the movie lets us cry along with them. The moment when Shaun confronts his zombified mom is absolutely agonizing, and if you don't shed a few tears during Ed and Shaun's final goodbye, well, you just might be one of the undead. While it's wonderfully edited and tightly scripted, Shaun of the Dead works so well because it's a movie with a whole lot of heart.