I'm no horror buff, but I do love the zombies. Well, I love the idea of zombies. I'm not really that interested in watching all the low-budget zombie movies, all the Italian zombie movies, or all the non-Romero Living Dead movies. But it's funny, I was looking over Ryan's recent Cinematical Seven of reasons he doesn't care for zombie movies, and it dually serves as my own list of reasons I like zombie movies. Or at least those zombie movies that apply. Primarily, I like zombie movies for the first reason: the symbolism.
Shaun of the Dead may be a comedic zombie movie, and it may not have any political undertones or serious social commentary, as do Romero's films and other prominent examples of the genre, but it does permit a scholarly subtext reading nonetheless. And because I'm a scholarly sort of gent (or maybe really I just like to over-analyze everything), I'm going to take this opportunity to look at this deeper level of the movie. Sure, I could just write about why I think the movie is one of the most hilarious I've ever seen, but that would be boring; plus, I respect that some people don't have the same sense of humor as me.
Shaun's symbolism comes in the form of the romantic story. The movie, often referred to as a "rom zom com" (romantic zombie comedy), actually serves as a sort of cinematic relationship guide, comically instructing us about dealing with commitment issues. Look at the order in which the members of Shaun's party are killed (killed dead, not undead): #1: his stepfather (Bill Nighy); #2: his mum (Penelope Wilton); #3: the other guy who loves his girl (the underrated Dylan Moran, who must be seen in Run Fatboy Run); #4: his roommate (Peter Serafinowicz); and finally, #5: his immature best friend (Nick Frost). These are the people that have to die in order for Shaun (Simon Pegg) to devote his full attention to Liz (Kate Ashfield). In real, non-lethal terms, they are the people Shaun has to let go of before he can fully connect in a relationship.