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Shaun of the Dead
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Clever horror / dramedy winks at horror movie cliches, but also has upsetting deaths, intense situations
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?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.