Shaun of the Dead

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Directed by Edgar Wright and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Shaun of the Dead is a "romantic comedy, with zombies". A "Rom-Zom-Com", if you will.

A young man named Shaun is dumped by his girlfriend Liz because he is unmotivated and doesn't put enough effort into the relationship. Shaun decides to reform in order to win her back. His plans, however, are interrupted by the Zombie Apocalypse. He and his even more deadbeat friend, Ed, go and rescue Shaun's mother, Shaun's stepfather, Liz and Liz's annoying flatmates and take them to the safety of the local pub, The Winchester.

Alternately hilarious, scary, and heartbreaking, it can be seen as either a parody of zombie movies or a romantic comedy that happens to use a Zombie Apocalypse as its setting.

First part of Wright's planned "Three Colours Cornetto" trilogy, followed by Hot Fuzz.


Shaun of the Dead is the Trope Namer for:

Ed: Are there any zombies out there?
Shaun: Don't say that!
Ed: What?
Shaun: That.
Ed: What?
Shaun: That. The Z word. Don't say it.
Ed: Why not?
Shaun: Because it's ridiculous!
Ed: Alright... Are there any out there, though?


Tropes used in Shaun of the Dead include:
  • All There in the Manual:
    • A British magazine published three short tie in comics that explain a few off scene events that tie up loose ends in the story, like, how did Shaun shake the zombies after leading them away from the pub? How did Ed end up in Shaun's tool shed? And what exactly happened to Dianne? These stories were inserted into the DVD complete with narrations by the characters.
    • Also, Mary, the zombie girl in the garden, has her own back-story which was published in 2000AD as a tie-in.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: Used a few times, once by Ed and another using the TV.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished - Only Shaun (who is hardly a beauty) gets really roughed up after spending the day in a pub fighting zombies.
    • The director's commentary confirms the make-up artist specifically wanted Kate Ashfield to look clean and lovely 'til the end.
  • Beta Couple - Dianne and David. 'Til death do they part. Well, only David.
  • Bloody Handprint: Two of the clues of the zombie apocalypse that Shaun overlooks.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Though his mum, stepdad (with whom he reconciled) and best friend turned into zombies, Shaun survived the zombie attack, got back together with his girlfriend and retrieved zombie Ed to play video games with in the shed.
  • The Cameo: A fantastically in-jokey scene where the gang run into a very similar gang headed by Shaun's friend Yvonne (played by Jessica Hynes, Simon Pegg's co-star and co-writer on Spaced). The alternative gang are all played by well-known British comedy actors (Martin Freeman from The Office, Tamsin Grieg from Black Books, Matt Lucas from Little Britain, Reece Shearsmith from The League of Gentlemen and Julia Deacon from Spaced) even though they're only on screen for seconds. Bonus points because they synchronise man-for-man with Shaun's gang. The implication is that Yvonne's the main character in a movie with a bigger budget.
    • It's even better than that, with one exception each counterpart is the Spear/Distaff of the other.
  • The Cavalry - When things are at their bleakest, the Army shows up, and blows away every Z-head in sight.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Several.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Literally, in the form of a Winchester rifle behind the bar that the characters mention and wonder if it works. It does.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Dianne is a failed actress, but her experience comes in handy when she has to instruct the group in pretending to be zombies.
  • Cool Car: The Jag. To the point that Ed deliberately wrecks the car that he and Shaun had been using, so that they'd be forced to drive it.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: All throughout the movie, Barbara remains rather blithely unaware of everything that is happening around her. Halfway through the movie, however, this could be seen as her not trying to worry Shaun about the fact that she got bitten.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Shaun (hilariously) drops one on Ed, after getting fed up with his constant mobile usage, in front of a zombie crowd. For their part, the zombies just stare, possibly just as surprised as everyone else at the outburst.
    • Pete drops one when he's woken up by Shaun and Ed's "stupid hip hop"[1] four hours before he has to go to work.
  • Comically Missing the Point: This little gem:

Liz: What, you want to hang out with my friends? A failed actress and a twat?
Shaun: Well, that's a bit harsh.
Liz: Your words!
Shaun: I did not call Dianne a failed actress!

  • Death By Pragmatism
  • Despair Event Horizon: When the last few survivors get to the cellar and find the hatch to the street inoperable, Shaun has a Heroic BSOD, then the talk stops being about escape and starts being about ending it quickly.
  • Dude, Not Funny: In-universe; Barbara is not impressed when Shaun tries to turn her against Philip by claiming "he touched me."

Shaun: ...That wasn't true. Made it up. Shouldn't have done that, sorry.

  • Failed a Spot Check: As a result of being severely hungover, Shaun goes to get some breakfast from the bodega across the street and utterly fails to notice the Zombie Apocalypse raging around him.
    • He did however notice several clues things were getting weird the day before, but was always distracted by someone before he could figure it out.
  • Foreshadowing: So very, very much, once you know where to look... See Ironic Echo below.
    • Shaun tells the football kid "you're dead" and Ed says Pete's dead the next time he sees him. Guess who later turn up as zombies.
    • Ed's plan to cheer Shaun up after Liz dumps him perfectly mirrors the events after the zombies attack.
    • Barbara is complimented on her zombie impression, but reveals she was actually just not paying attention. This might be because she had just been bitten.
    • When Pete is ranting at Ed for keeping him awake with his electro music, he drops the line "You want to live like an animal? Go live in the shed, you thick fuck!" When we last see Ed, he's a chained-up zombie living in Shaun's shed indefinitely.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Pete is completely naked as a zombie, having transformed during a shower. He shows up in the film's climax to bite Ed.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck: The DVD includes an extra scene named "Funky Pete" with the swearing removed to show the film on commercial flights, with mixed success: "It's four in the funking morning!"
    • "What a prink!"
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: As someone is torn apart by zombies, his legs come off and are then used as clubs.
  • Deadly Change-of-Heart: David, who was an asshole the entire movie, and is totally unsympathetic to Shaun having to kill his own mother, is killed rather gruesomely before he gets a chance to apologize. There was an alternate version of the scene where he's killed just after he apologizes, but the creators decided it was better that he never redeemed himself. People in the test audiences cheered.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Shaun and Ed. Life and death partners, anyway.
  • Homage: the Romero and Russo zombie movies, particularly David's death scene, modeled off the death of Captain Rhodes Rickles and Torrez in Day of the Dead.
  • Ignored Vital News Reports: When Shaun wakes up in the morning he changes the channel every time a news bulletin shows up. Said news bulletins finish each others' sentences (even when switching to and from non-news channels), all talking about the dead coming back from the grave.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Subverted as Shaun has never handled a rifle before, and his accuracy suffers accordingly.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Played absolutely straight in that the heroes use anything they can get their hands on to fend off the zombies, starting with the use of Shaun's record collection against two zombies in his garden.
    • When given a Swingball to fend off a zombie, Shaun's first instinct is to use it as a Epic Flail... and the tennis ball bounces pathetically off its head. Cue Dawn and Liz making stabbing motions.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted through a blink-and-you-miss-it family running from their mother.
    • Additionally, the football kicking child doesn't escape zombification either.
  • Ironic Echo: Basically the whole first half of the movie foreshadows the second half (after the Zombie Apocalypse occurs), ranging from obvious "Next time I see him, he's dead!" to the early scene in The Winchester in which Ed - unwittingly - predicts the events of the entire movie:

"First thing tomorrow, we'll have a Bloody Mary (Kill the girl in the garden, whose name was Mary), grab a bite at the King's Head (Go get Phil, Shaun's father, who then was bitten on his neck by a zombie), have a couple at the Little Princess (Couple=Dave and Diane, little princess=Liz), stagger back (Impersonate zombies), then come back to the bar for shots." (shooting scene in The Winchester.)

    • "You've got red on you." First mentioned when his red pen breaks.
    • The scene with Yvonne: "Surviving" and "I'm glad somebody made it". As well as Shaun telling Pete to "Leave (Ed) alone". Their use of changing the context deserves a Nobel Prize.
    • The scene at the beginning of the movie where Ed is playing a game with Shaun giving him help. Later on in the movie(during the bar shooting scene) Ed gives the same directions to Shaun.
      • It's in the DVD commentary. The directions barked out as Shaun during the shooting scene also appear in an earlier scene, where one is back-seat-playing Timesplitters.
    • When Shaun first goes to the shop, he picks up a Diet Coke, changes his mind and gets a normal Coke instead. The next time, after deciding to sort his life out, he does the opposite.
    • When Shaun gets a call from Liz at work in front of Noel, having previously berated him for taking personal calls at work, he pretends that it's actually a superior calling him and mimes shooting himself in the head in irritation. Later, when he and Liz are discussing killing themselves to avoid getting zombified, he makes the same movement.
    • In the scene where Pete rages at Ed and Shaun for their late-night music-fest, we have this easily-missed line:

Pete: "You want to live like an animal?! GO LIVE IN THE SHED, YOU THICK FUCK!"

    • A particularly ironic example: when Shaun drunkenly switches on his answering machine and his mother's voicemail message plays, she invites him and Liz over for dinner - taking care to ask whether Liz has any food preferences, stating that "a lot of people these days don't eat meat".
    • As seen below Liz claims that Shaun called David a twat; when David is insisting that they shoot Barbara before she becomes a zombie and kills them all Liz can understand where he's coming from, but now agrees with Shaun and Ed on his being a twat.
    • "Well, fuck-a-doodle-doo!"
    • "Cock it!"
    • Many of the shots from the TV montage at the end either mirror(as in the game show) shots shown when Shaun is flicking through channels while trying to sell a TV at work, or are lifted wholesale(the people in hazmat suits - the same woman appears on the talk show both times).
      • That particular example is genius because the full interview is on the DVD extras, and the woman is angry at her husband in the first one, but is trying to make it work the second time when he's a zombie.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: Liz claims that Shaun described her friends as "a failed actress and a twat". Shaun emphatically denied that he called Diane a failed actress.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: David's last hop over the Moral Event Horizon is when he panics and pulls the trigger on Shaun. *Click*. Screw This, I'm Outta Here.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Ed
  • Jerkass: Ed and David, most notably.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ed is a biblical pain in the arse but he's the one tries to cheer Shaun up when he's dumped and makes the Heroic Sacrifice for him at the end
    • Jerkass Has a Point: David preparing to shoot Barbara after it has been revealed she's been bitten, meaning she's going to become a zombie, and they have to do something before she revives and tries to kill all of them. After a rather heated and tense stand-off, Liz notes that she can understand what David is getting at, but he's still being "a twat" all the same.
    • Pete is still an asshole, but wouldn't you be pissed if your roommates were constantly leaving the front door open overnight and playing loud music at four in the morning when you had to work? This is arguably why Pete is an asshole, since he's clearly long gotten sick of both having Ed mooch around the place leeching off them and making it into a tip without contributing anything to the house in turn (except for a little bit bit of money he gets from selling weed) and to a lesser extent Shaun's weak-willed refusal to grow up a bit and stop enabling Ed.
  • Juggling Loaded Guns:a running argument between Ed and Shaun on whether or not The Winchester's namesake gun (mounted over the bar) has been deactivated:

Shaun clubs a zombie with the butt of the Winchester
Ed: "Why didn't you just shoot him, man?"
Shaun: "Ed, for the last time..."
Shaun squeezes the trigger of the gun, and it fires
Ed: "I fucking knew it!"

  • Just for Pun: Compare Dawn of the Dead. (Wright and Pegg freely admit this is an awful gag, but were too attached to it.)
    • Pegg has also joked about making a sequel - From Dusk Till Shaun.
  • Karmic Death: David is killed through the window he unwisely smashed open with the trash can.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: David is pulled through the window and eaten, right in the very middle of saying "I'm sorry" to Shaun.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Shaun and Barbara
  • Last Stand
  • Law of Conservation of Detail: The whole film is a masterclass in this trope.
  • The Load: Shaun's mum during the Zombie Apocalypse, Shaun's mum and Ed in the more mundane aspects of his life. Ed's uselessness is lampshaded by Pete.
  • Love Makes You Evil: David is at his most obnoxious when he's a) trying to drive a wedge between Shaun and Liz, b) gloating over the fact that they've split up or c) making extremely feeble denials about having a thing for Liz
  • Made of Plasticine: Like a lot of zombie movies, human bodies get torn apart relatively easily.
  • Mexican Standoff: Involving a rifle, two broken bottles, and a corkscrew.
    • And a lampshade.
  • Mickey Mousing: Happens twice.
    • During the intro credits.
    • When the heroes are whaling on the bartender to the sound of Queen.
  • The Millstone: Ed, so very very much. David to a lesser extent.
  • Mirror Scare: Played straight, then echoed. Like everything else in the movie.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first half of the film is an affectionate parody/pastiche of the zombie genre, but everything goes to hell in a grocery trolley when Shaun is forced to kill his own infected mother, David is torn limb from limb and eaten by zombies, Dianne disappears, and Ed becomes a Zombie. Fortunately, Shaun and Liz manage to escape by the skin of their teeth, and Dianne is revealed to have survived.
    • The aforementioned death and zombification of Shaun's mother takes place literally five minutes after the Don't Stop Me Now sequence.
    • And let's not forget Philip's death.
    • Hell it could be called "Mood Whiplash, The Movie"
  • My Local: The Winchester pub.
  • Mythology Gag: "How's that for a slice of fried gold?", refers to a comment frequently made between members of the Spaced production team.
    • Also, "He's not my boyfriend." "Thanks, babe."
      • It was noted in the commentary that this wasn't an intentional reference to Spaced, they just forgot they had already used that joke.
    • Tyres from Spaced is in the crowd of zombies around the Winchester (easily spotted because he's wearing his yellow hat and courier get-up), apparently STILL raving. And the first meeting between Shaun and Yvonne, played by Jessica Stevenson aka Daisy, refers back obliquely to their work on Spaced.
    • The entire Zombie episode of Spaced (where Tim hallucinates a zombie attack after getting high and playing Resident Evil 2 all night) was apparently the inspiration for the whole movie.
    • That ice cream 'Cornetto' also appeared in Hot Fuzz as the blue 'Classico' to represent the police force, and because Shaun of The Dead is themed with blood, Shaun bought a strawberry (red) one, making this the first in the 'Cornetto' or 'Blood & Ice Cream' Trilogy. This also relates to the line "Want anything from the shop?" which appears in both films.
    • It's mentioned in the commentary that the location of Shaun and Ed's home is just up the road from Tim and Daisy's. They even speculate that Yvonne and Shaun are some kind of alternate universe's Tim and Daisy.
    • The recurring argument that Shaun and Ed often get into about the ability of dogs to look up is apparently based on an actual argument that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost had during the filming of Spaced
    • The shopping trolley outside the house was also in Spaced.
  • Newscaster Cameo: Several, Jeremy Thompson from Sky getting the best line.
  • Noble Shoplifter: Shaun does this unknowingly. When the entire town is deserted, he just goes about his daily business and goes to the convenience store to shop for groceries. When he notices the shopkeeper isn't there, he puts his money on the counter rather than wait for him. He notes that he doesn't quite have enough ("I owe you fifteen p."), and the shopkeeper later comes to collect the rest -- unfortunately, he's a bit dead by that point...
  • Non-Action Guy: Ed and David, originally ("Don't hesitate to STEP IN!") - later, all David's attempts to be more "proactive" go horribly awry.
  • Not a Zombie: Mary.
  • Not Using the Z Word: Where the title came from, and the readiest example.
  • Not with the Safety On, You Won't: David's first thought when the gun doesn't work. An exasperated Ed points out It Works Better If You Cock It.
  • Obstacle Exposition: Shaun plots out their every move to Ed once they've realized they're in a Zombie Apocalypse as a monologue over hilarious footage of him carrying out each act, calmly and with panache. As Ed reminds him about something else Shaun amends his previous plan to accommodate it. From then on they, of course, have trouble each step along the way.
  • Oh Crap: Shaun gets a big one when he turns on the lights and realizes how many zombies are outside the back door.
  • One Last Smoke: Shaun And Liz. Averted, as the light from the cigarette lighter reveals the controls for the escape hatch they had believed to be jammed.
    • Liz and Shaun also leave Ed with a cigarette dangling from his lips.
  • Only Sane Man: Shaun, once he's convinced himself that, yes, it is zombies they're dealing with, starts to deal with it pragmatically. Everyone else seems either intent on denying the crisis, in the belief that if they just sit around this silliness will blow over, or going into hysterical and useless rants (Dave). Ed goes too far in the other direction, becoming a bit too keen putting the others in danger for thrills.
    • The irony being, of course, that if they had just hung out in Liz's apartment and waited for it to blow over, they would have been perfectly fine. Except for Phil, but he was a Zombie Infectee already anyway.
    • Liz also has her head screwed on fairly well throughout the movie, and In the Mexican Standoff almost everyone else gets into at the climax she's the only one trying to act as the voice of reason by pointing out that they kind of have bigger fish to fry at the moment.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Over the course of the film, it's shown that they degrade to an animal-like sentience, will still answer to their names, retain certain habits (e.g. Phillip turning off the stereo, that kid playing football, Ed playing video games), and can be trained like domesticated animals.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Mostly averted, with actual footage of a Time Splitters gaming session being shown. The exception was the addition of a voice saying "Player X has joined/left the game", added for comedic purposes.
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: Subverted with "Sorry, we're closed."
    • Played straight with "OK, John - it's time at the bar."
  • Precision F-Strike - Liz in the Winchester when everyone's got weapons pointed at one another:

Please can we just calm the fuck down?!

  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner - Subverted. Just as the zombies break into The Winchester, Shaun levels his rifle and says, "Sorry, we're closed!" but the gun jams, prompting a hysterical little squeak of panic from Shaun and several seconds of flustered flapping about from the characters before they can actually start shooting.
      • Played straight in one instance, however: when Pete throws his electro-inspired late-night tantrum and tells Ed to "go and live in the shed", Shaun tells Pete to leave Ed alone. Later on in the Winchester as Ed is getting chewed into by Zombie Pete, Shaun catches Pete's attention by screaming a single line before promptly shooting him through the eye as he advances.

Shaun: I SAID LEAVE HIM ALONE! *headshot*

Ed: We're coming to get you, Barbara!

      • Funnily enough, George Romero himself actually missed this one on his first viewing, as Edgar Wright discovered when he excitedly asked what Romero had thought of the line.
    • In addition, their game of choice at the beginning was Time Splitters 2 Free Radical reciprocated by putting some references in Timesplitters: Future Perfect.
    • Nobody else noticed the rather appropriate use of the first few chords of 'Ghost Town', by the Specials at the start of the film?
    • Day of the Dead is first replicated with David being torn in half by zombies (though he never says "Choke on 'em!"), and Shaun and Liz ascend in the freight elevator at the end exactly the same way as the ending of Day.
      • Also, the shot of a half-awake Shaun's shadow entering the screen before we pan up to his face, mirroring the first shot of a zombie in Day.
    • "The Gonk" from Dawn of the Dead plays at the end of the credits.
    • A subtle shout-out to the Evil Dead series after Shaun discovers Pete zombified in the shower: as he backs away in terror, he babbles "We were wondering if you'd like to (beat) join us?"
    • Another subtle Evil Dead shout-out appears when Shaun arrives at work and briefly mentions a co-worker named "Ash" who called in sick that day.
    • The name of the electronics store where Shaun works is called Foree Electronics, after Ken Foree, the lead actor from the original Dawn of the Dead. The restaurant where Shaun and Liz are supposed to have dinner early in the movie is called Fulci's, after Zombi 2 director Lucio Fulci.
    • Shaun closing the mirror to reveal Pete reflected in it references An American Werewolf in London.
  • Similar Squad - the gang meet up what appear to be a group undergoing the same plot but with a slightly more expensive cast. Each of the gang's double actually corresponds to a comedy double they'd shared in the past. Like Pegg and Frost, Jessica Hynes worked on Spaced, Martin Freeman worked with Lucy Davis on The Office and Tasmin Greig worked with Dylan Moran on Black Books.
  • A Simple Plan: "How's that for a slice of fried gold?"

(later) "Oh, let's go to the Winchester- whose fucking idea was that?"

  • Slept Through the Apocalypse
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: First one end, then the other.
  • Soul Fragment: A personality quirk or two survives the zombification process. Examples include the football kid continuing to play football, several people working menial jobs before the outbreak continuing in those jobs after zombification, and Ed living in the shed after being zombified, still playing video games
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: In the pub at the start, just after Shaun has broken up with his girlfriend and the jukebox begins playing a sad song. Lampshaded as Ed says "Who the hell put this on?" "It's on random." "Oh, for fuck's sake!"
    • The same gag is Ironic Echoed later on in a spot of Soundtrack Dissonance: The jukebox in the pub, now facing an onslaught of zombies, randomly picks Queen's Don't Stop Me Now.

Shaun: Augh-! Who the hell put this on?!
Ed: It's on random!
Liz: Oh, for fuck's sake!
Shaun: David! Kill the Queen!
David: What?!
Shaun: THE JUKEBOX!

    • Speaking of appropriate zombie-bashing tunes, this combines with a Shout-Out after Shaun drives off relieved that he only ran over a zombie. The first line out of the stereo when he starts the car again is "I think my head is gonna explode!" ... from the song Meltdown, by Northern Irish band Ash.
  • There Was a Door round the back of The Winchester, so David didn't need to smash the front window.
  • Title of the Dead
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ed's stupidity also makes him The Millstone, as he repeatedly endangers the group by utterly failing to comprehend the concept of "danger." Shaun's mother should also be mentioned. Would you like some tea and sandwiches? In her defense, she was just trying to avoid worrying him.
    • Shaun himself also fits this. What exactly made the Winchester any safer than Liz's apartment? While it's got big heavy doors and a rifle on the wall and Ed knows where all the exits are (and he can smoke), they actually probably would have been safer in the apartment, because the window was above ground level (Shaun could climb up to it, but he wasn't a zombie) and you couldn't even get into the building without being buzzed in. Even if the zombies somehow got in through that door, they could have barricaded the apartment door fairly easily. But they also wouldn't have had half so much booze.
      • Although to be fair to Shaun, he did suggest Liz's apartment first, but was shot down by Ed, and the Winchester was a compromise after they rejected their own flat on the grounds that it wasn't secure.
    • Let's not forget David standing right in front of the pub window, seconds before he gets eaten.
    • Frankly, the entire group lives and breathes this trope, making stupid decision after stupid decision, but Ed really is the king.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailers tended to play up the comedic aspects and downplay or ignore the more serious and horrific elements.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: A variant appears when Shaun flicks through television channels in the first half:

Channel 4 News' Krishnan Guru-Murthy: Though no one official is prepared to comment, religious groups are calling it Judgement Day. There's...
VH-1, playing "Panic" by The Smiths: ...Panic on the streets of London...
ITV News reporter: ...as an increasing number of reports of...
Football commentator: ...serious attacks on...
Channel Five news reporter: ...people, who are literally being...
Nature documentary, leopards eating a gazelle: ...eaten alive.

  • Two Shots From Behind the Bar: The Winchester has the gun hidden in plain sight, but Shaun and the others initially think it's just a prop.
  • Undeath Always Ends: Subverted, zombie Ed not only 'lives' on as a zombie at the end, but is rather poignantly no worse off than when he was alive... Shaun keeps him in the garden shed playing video-games!
    • Indeed, this is true for all the zombies that weren't killed during the crisis, as society managed to adapt and utilize the undead for their own purpose, roping them into Reality TV shows, menial labour and chat shows, among other things.
      • Their integration into society could perhaps be a subversion of the supposed "consumerist" commentary in Dawn of the Dead.
        • Actually, that wouldn't be a subversion since the commentary boils down to, "if we were zombies, would anything really change?"
  • The Un-Reveal: A very much in the background radio broadcast near the beginning of the film would imply that something from a downed US satellite caused the zombies. When Shaun is watching television at the end of the film, a news program says that the theorized cause was "use of"...something. Shaun changes the channel a moment too early.
  • Vinyl Shatters: "'Purple Rain'?" "No." "'Sign 'O The Times'?" "No." "The Batman soundtrack?" "Throw it."
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: In the end, the zombies are defeated and are employed as menial labourers and game show contestants.
  • What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: There's some level of social observation, and the apparent suggestion that in 21st century Britain many people live life in an unthinking, zombie-like state - the introductory footage of everyday life at the film's beginning, Shaun and Ed's first few zombie encounters - in which they fail to notice anything unusual going on, and the ending, where society becomes completely desensitized to violence, and Ed lives on, undead and tied up in the shed. Creepy.
  • What Happened to Mommy?: One of the few things played absolutely straight.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Shaun sees his step-dad like this, though in fact it turns out that Phillip thought Shaun had it in him to really make something of himself with enough motivation and was simply applying Tough Love.
    • And it has to be said that Shaun wasn't exactly the perfect stepson. One incident that stands out is Shaun claiming Phillip attacked him with a lump of wood for leaving a Mars bar in the glove compartment of his Jag, but it's actually revealed later that Shaun calling Phillip a motherfucker might have had something to do with it as well.
      • Although, strictly speaking, Shaun was not incorrect in calling him that.
  • Wiper Start: Ed when getting Pete's car to start.
  • You Leave Him Alone: Shaun, as Ed is doomed by the bite of the zombies in their final attack.
  • Zombie Apocalypse - Duh?
    • But it ends with society not only surviving but incorporating the zombies into it.
    • In fact, there's lots of little hints that all is not lost throughout the movie - for example, when the power goes out, it turns out that the pub's just lost its power.
      • In fact, not even all of London was overrun by zombies, because (apart from the aforementioned pub's power loss) many of the television programmes, including BBC, survived throughout the film together with their anchormen and -women (although one short-lived blackout did occur). And many of the channels' studios are located in the heart of London (such as in the television centre). However, more than one city has been reported to be affected/evacuated.
  • Zombie Infectee: Ed, Shaun's mum, and his stepdad earlier on. Pete at pretty much the very beginning of the film.
  1. "It's electro, prick."