Shaun of the Dead

Movie review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
Shaun of the Dead Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Zombie horror-comedy has lots of gore, cursing.
  • R
  • 2004
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 42 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 124 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes of trust and loyalty sincerely and ironically explored. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

While not a role model by any stretch, Shaun's character arc reveals him to be capable of making decisions, and he displays leadership qualities unrevealed before the zombie infestation. 


Graphic, bloody gore. Humans and zombies constantly try to kill each other in various ways -- by biting, shooting, impaling, stabbing, etc. Zombie movie violence: entrails eating, flesh ripping, a character killed by having his chest ripped open by a horde of zombies. 


Some sexual references and crude humor concerning the lead character's mother. 


Frequent profanity. Regular use of "f--k." "Motherf----r." White character calls his other white friends "n---az" in an ironic greeting. "C--t," "c--k," "pr--k," "twat," "hell," "pisshead." 


Product placement for Coke and Jaguar. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters often drink beer and cocktails and smoke cigarettes, spending much of their time in a pub. One of the characters is a drug dealer. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 horror comedy in which a London slacker and his friends must fight for survival during a zombie outbreak. Although it's more of a comedy than a true horror movie, there's still enough blood, guts, and gore to turn your stomach and make you avert your eyes -- most of it occurring during the climactic battles at the end. It's also extremely violent. Zombies and humans try to kill each other in every way possible: biting, shooting, stabbing, impaling, etc. There's almost nonstop profanity -- regular use of "f--k" and variations, and a white character ironically calls his white friends "n---az" by way of greeting.  There's some crude humor: flatulence, sexual humor. There's also a lot of smoking and drinking, and there are a few drug references. There are also some intense scenes, such as when a son is forced to kill his zombie mother and some characters consider killing themselves. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byA very sensible... September 9, 2019

Very good film

This film is not as bad as worlds end or hot fuzz !! The problem with this is it contains a lot of bad language and even one use of c*nt (which is used in the f... Continue reading
Adult Written byZakGilmore96 June 2, 2019

Classic Depends on the Individual

For me, I’m watching Shaun of the Dead with my 12 year old brother and sister (22 myself). They’re both very mature for their age so don’t have an issue with an... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 15, 2016

Clever horror / dramedy winks at horror movie cliches, but also has upsetting deaths, intense situations

TheProBros thinks parents should know that, while Shaun of the Dead is a more lighthearted film than other horror movies, being somewhat of a horror / comedy /... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBuffy Rules February 12, 2016

Review #11 - This is genuinely hilarious and well-worth watching. It is briefly extremely violent as well.

RATING: R | STUDIO: Universal
FOREWORD: To reviewers who say stuff... Continue reading

What's the story?

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 29-year-old slacker who holds down a dead-end job he hates. His girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) has asked him to make something of himself, but he cannot bring himself to change. Sick of playing second fiddle to Shaun's immature roommate, Ed, to beer, and to video games, Liz breaks up with Shaun. Shaun wants to save the relationship, but before he can, he must deal with a strange situation that has emerged: a horde of zombies taking over London, and looking for new recruits. Now Shaun must save his family and friends as chaos erupts through the city.

Is it any good?

A cult favorite, SHAUN OF THE DEAD pokes fun at zombie movie clichés, but it also honors these movies by following their rules. It balances laugh-out-loud funny scenes (such as when Shaun is so self-absorbed he doesn't see the zombies wandering around his neighborhood and then misses the news warnings because he is channel-surfing) with some intense, suspenseful, and yes, very gory and bloody scenes (for example, the zombies attack a man and pull various bloody organs out of his stomach).

Due to the gore, we don't recommend this movie for kids under 17. Older teens and adults who are horror fans, however, are likely to enjoy the droll British humor and the homage to George Romero's zombie trilogy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of zombie movies. How does this movie fit into the zombie genre, while also standing out from others?

  • How does this movie parody the conventions of zombie movies while also satirizing contemporary society? To that end, what purpose did the movie's epilogue serve?

  • Was the violence necessary to make the film fit the conventions of zombie-themed horror movies, or did it seem gratuitous? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scary movies

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