Characters / Shaun of the Dead

Shaun of the Dead

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Played by: Simon Pegg

"How's that for a slice of fried gold?"

A 29-year-old slacker who works as an electronics shop salesman. He lacks direction in his life, is mired in his boring routines, his colleagues shows him no respect, and he has a strained relationship with his girlfriend, Liz.

  • Affectionate Nickname: His mother calls him "Pickle".
  • Action Survivor: Despite being a typical, unhealthy layabout, he still manages to survive the entire film.
  • Apologetic Attacker: When he's forced to shoot Barbara.
  • Berserk Button: Don't threaten Shaun's mother. Don't even talk ill of her.
    • To a lesser extent, don't threaten Ed. When Zombie!Pete arrives at the bar and attacks Ed, Shaun angrily kills him.
    Shaun: I said LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Uses Ed's "two seconds" before visiting his zombie in the shed.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He uses whatever is available, be it a cricket bat, pool cue, or jukebox.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Usually when confronted by Ed's stupidity or David's abrasiveness.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ed.
    David: Well, I wasn't the one who was blowing our cover by having a tiff with my boyfriend.
    Shaun: He's not my boyfriend!
    Ed: (handing him a beer) It might be a bit warm, the cooler's off.
    Shaun: Thanks, babe.
  • The Hero: Notably, every scene in the entire film (with just one exception) is centered around him.
  • Improbable Weapon User: A cricket bat.
  • Loser Protagonist: He's a bit of a slacker, is in a rocky relationship with his current girlfriend, and is stuck in a dead-end job where none of the younger employees have any respect for him. To his credit, he isn't as much of a loser as Ed, whose only source of income is occasionally selling weed.
  • Nice Guy: He's a bit lazy and irresponsible at the start of the film, but otherwise a decent guy.
  • Only Sane Man: Shares this role in the group with Liz.
  • Too Dumb to Live: 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 himself 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.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Starts off as a bumbling slacker. Becomes a zombie slaying badass.
  • Weapon of Choice: A cricket bat.



Played by: Nick Frost

"Who died and made you fucking king of the zombies?"

Shaun's housemate and best friend. He is unemployed, quite the slob, and has even less direction in life than Shaun.

  • I Will Only Slow You Down: He tells Shaun and Liz to leave him behind after he has been seriously bitten in the neck. Shaun comes back after him after the crisis is over though.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lazy, annoying and vulgar, but he genuinely cares about Shaun. He's just bad at showing it.
  • The Lancer: Shaun's best friend and his partner during the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Lethally Stupid: It's possible some of the deaths could've been prevented if Ed hadn't insisted on going to the Winchester instead of Liz's apartment.
  • Manchild: He's an overweight slacker who makes a living selling drugs part-time.
  • The Millstone: Outright causes a lot of the group's problems. Deliberately crashes Pete's car so he could drive Phillip's Jag, answering his phone whilst surrounded by zombies.....
  • Too Dumb to Live: He takes this to new levels and plays it for laughs. The characters need to get past a horde of zombies, and do so by acting like zombies to avoid drawing attention. When they are nearly to apparent safety, his phone goes off... and he answers it and starts cheerfully talking on the phone, less than ten feet from dozens of zombies. Previously, he had "accidentally" crashed their first car, giving him an excuse to drive a Jaguar instead. Following after the cellphone incident, the electricity comes back on and he starts playing a pub fruit machine, which draw the attention of a zombie in the same building as them. In fact, heís so profoundly stupid and ignorant that itís arguable that turning into a zombie is an improvement.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Not to the extent of Shaun, but Ed becomes surprisingly resourceful by the end.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Played with. Ed holds Shaun back, but itís far from intentional and he does love Shaun.
  • Weapon of Choice: A shovel, which he uses to bash the zo-those things' heads in.



Played by: Kate Ashfield

"Can we just CALM THE FUCK DOWN?"

Shaun's girlfriend. Their relationship is quite strained as she is tired of Shaun's listlessness and laziness.

  • Action Girl: Almost wields a chain against the zombies at the very end of the film.
  • Action Survivor: Survives the events of the film, along with Shaun.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Probably the biggest snarker in the film.
  • Only Sane Man: Shares this role in the group with Shaun.
  • Precision F-Strike: Just look at that quote. She actually manages to defuse the situation, somewhat.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: She is trying to push Shaun into being a more proactive and ambitious person, instead of just mindlessly following his daily routines and settling for the path of least resistance. She gives up on him, when he, despite promising to change his ways, forgets their date one time too many.



Played by: Lucy Davis

"Just look at the face: it's vacant, with a hint of sadness. Like a drunk who's lost a bet."

Liz's flatemate and a failed actor.

  • Grievous Harm with a Body: She attacks zombies using one of Davidís torn off legs.
  • Idiot Ball/Nice Job Breakingit Hero: She let the zombie horde in so that she can rescue what's left of David.
  • Number Two: Seems to be second most competent behind Shaun, throwing Shaun a weapon to deal with the pajama-clad zombie and checking for signs of the owners of the Winchester and also helping them sneak into the Winchester with her acting skills.



Played by: Dylan Moran

"Basically, I'd say your nine lives are up, Shaun." note 

Liz's other flatmate. He is, to put it mildly, a bit of a dick.

  • Commander Contrarian: Always ready to insult Shaun's efforts, even though he himself proves to be The Load at one point and Shaun has to improvise with a genuine act of nobility.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Whenever he's putting Shaun down. Which is often.
  • Dirty Coward: For all his snarking at Shaun from the sidelines, he's clearly not massively imbued with courage and resolve. Most notably (and dickishly), despite being the one to pick up the gun and callously insist on the necessity of shooting Barbara to prevent her from rising from the dead, he ultimately bottles out and gets Shaun to do it. This essentially means that he ends forces Shaun to shoot his own mother in the head.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: A downplayed example for the most part, since he wears glasses and is a bit of an obnoxious dick. Then, at the end, he grabs the rifle and tries to shoot Shaun with an extremely cold look on his face.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Towards Shaun, due to David's secret love for Liz
  • HeelĖFace Door-Slam: He almost redeems himself. But then he gets ripped apart by hungry zombies. In a deleted scene, he actually managed to apologize before being killed.
  • Hypocrite: Calls Shaun out for not being a model boyfriend to Liz. This is coming from a man who constantly ignores his own girlfriend because he'd rather be with Liz.
  • Jerkass: Through unlike Ed, he isn't at all likeable.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Seemingly invoked deliberately. It's clear that he's correct in that Shaun's plan isn't very well thought-out, and his ultimate goal amounts to little more to sitting around and waiting for rescue. However, considering that he himself rarely has anything to offer but unhelpful snark, and that he just makes things worse on the rare occasions when he actually tries to do something, it's clear that he's Right for the Wrong Reasons, his criticisms of Shaun's plans being more out of personal dislike for Shaun than him actually having any idea of what to do, keeping him from being remotely sympathetic. Even when he's right and is actually ready to do something about it (when he was ready to shoot the now-dead Barbara before she could revive as a zombie), he can't do it without being a complete twat about it, and he ultimately wimps out and makes Shaun do it.
  • Karmic Death: Dies very shortly after his most heinous act.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: During an attempted apology, even.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: As Diane points out, if he really was as capable as he was trying to act whenever he was putting Shaun down, he would have taken charge of the group himself, rather than following along with whatever Shaun was doing.
  • The Load: All he does is complain about every decision Shaun makes, acting.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Everything he does is motivated in some way by his not-so-secret love for Liz.
  • Non-Action Guy: The most he does is empty a bin and throw it through a window.
  • Only Sane Man: Thinks he's this, although really he's just The Load.
  • Smug Snake: Very smug about his supposed superiority to Shaun.
  • Stalker Witha Crush: Acts a little too involved in Liz's relationship with Shaun and plays the "nice guy" card whenever he can.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Standing right in front of the pub window, seconds before he gets eaten.



Played by: Penelope Wilton

"Itís been a funny sort of day, hasnít it?"

Shaun's happy-go-lucky mother.

  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Cheerfully oblivious to the Zombie Apocalypse going on around her. At least at first; after she's bitten, she seems more distracted by hiding her bite than actually being oblivious to everything.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: She reveals the zombie bite on her wrist when the group gets to the Winchester.
  • The Load: She's not very useful, but she's not actively detrimental like Ed.
  • Too Dumb to Live: What did she think would happen opening the door to a zombie?
  • Zombie Infectee: Every zombie movie needs one.



Played by: Bill Nighy

"It's a lot of overblown nonsense, a lot of drug nuts running wild."

Shaun's grumpy stepfather.

  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shaun hates him and he acts pretty coldly towards his stepson at first, but it's later revealed that he genuinely cared for Shaun even after everything they did and said to each other.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: "I'm perfectly alright, Barbara; I ran it under a cold tap."
  • Perpetual Frowner: Never smiles. Ever. The zombified him does, however, smile in relief
  • Wicked Stepmother: Stepfather, but still fits. Shaun considers him this at first, but really heís just a rather abrasive but ultimately good-hearted fellow.
  • Zombie Infectee: Notably, he gets bitten twice, presumably speeding up the process.



Played by: Jessica Hynes

"Glad to see somebody made it!"

One of Shaun's old friends.

  • Action Survivor: Survives the events of the film.
  • The Cameo: Jessica Stevenson previously worked with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on Spaced.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Oh my God, Shaun!" Said cheerfully after bumping into Shaun at random intervals.
  • Golf Clubbing: Her Weapon of Choice.
  • Hero of Another Story: Has a group of survivors just like Shaun (with a counterpart for every single character in Shaun's group), but she seems to be the only one who got out alive — or at least, is the only one we later see. Presumably kicked a lot of zombie ass off-screen.
  • The Pollyanna: She's almost constantly smiling and cheerful, even in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse. Her upbeat personality doesn't prevent her from surviving the events of the film, either.
  • Running Gag: She keeps bumping into Shaun randomly throughout the events of the movie.



Played by: Peter Serafinowicz

"Sort your fucking life out, mate!"

Shaun's other housemate. He really, really doesn't like Ed.

  • Brick Joke: When Shaun tries to leave the bathroom after finding the infected Pete in the shower, tells Pete that he and Ed and are taking his car to the pub, and he can join them if he feels better. He shows up when the other zombies break through the pub's barricades.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Has a rather epic one.
    "No, it's not. It's fucking Sunday. And I've got to go to fucking work in four fucking hours 'cos every other fucker in my fucking department is fucking ill! Now can you see why I'm SO FUCKING ANGRY? "
  • Deadpan Snarker: Whenever he has to put up with Ed's stupidity. Which seems to be often.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: He seemingly turned into a zombie during a shower, causing dead Pete to stumble around butt nude.
  • Jerkass: He's extremely mean towards Ed. Although as noted below...
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He does show genuine sympathy to Shaun after learning that he and Liz have split up, and a lot of his more dickish tendencies appear to be provoked by Ed's own Jerkass nature.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Ed doesn't pay his rent, makes a mess, plays loud music at night and isn't even attempting to get a job. It's hard to dispute his assessment for why Shaun keeps Ed around, even if the two are best friends. More infamously, he's the one who tells Shaun to sort his life out, which he spends the rest of the film trying to do.
  • Pet the Dog: There are occasions where he'll try to cut Shaun and Ed some slack, but Ed is the one who puts him back in a foul mood again.
  • Zombie Infectee: He was assaulted and bitten by what he believed to be a group of "crackheads". They weren't crackheads.