Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The pairing of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright is definitely something to look out for - in the future as well as in the present. There's a subtlety to the mayhem put forward by Shaun of the Dead, and there's a nobility and unquestionable admiration for the medium that makes this a cheerful, enjoyable and, would you believe it, classy splatter.
The object of inspiration are obviously George A. Romero's zombie movies. The title is a pun on his 1978 sequel Dawn of the Dead, and the nature of the beast (literally) is derived from Romero's universe. The tone of the film, however, is fundamentally that of a comedy, and Wright makes the combination work deftly, alternating between tounge-in-cheek, idiosyncrasy and some not at all negligible thrillerish suspense - much in the same way Peter Jackson did it with Braindead and Sam Raimi before him, particularly with Evil Dead 2.
Still, there's a major difference. Romero, Raimi and Jackson were in it to innovate the horror genre. They were all more stylistically ambitious. Pegg and Wright want to have a good time and to infect us with their fun while at the same time pay tribute to the zombie subgenre. They succeed remarkably well, largely thanks to Pegg and Wright's script which constantly turns in the right directions, managing to come off as a likable buddy movie while implementing a cute little romance in the process. There are aspects that bear witness to filmmaking of real flair, like the way the completely outrageous concept is given a fully realistic media coverage. And unlike most horror movies, Shaun of the Dead even knows how to tuck away a vivid (sort of) finale.