Genre movies are often looked down upon, but done right, they can be just as astounding and profound as any “serious” movie out there. Edgar Wright has been riffing on genre tropes throughout his entire career, from his low-budget western-spoofing debut feature A Fistful of Fingers to his most recent movie, the action-packed jukebox musical Baby Driver.

Wright’s best-known genre riffs are the installments in his “Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy,” starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The trilogy’s final chapter, The World’s End, is a fantastic take on paranoid sci-fi movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but the best Cornetto movies are undeniably Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

10 Shaun Of The Dead Is The Best: The Zombies Aren’t The Focus

Zombie movies are essentially monster movies, and any great monster movie can’t rely entirely on its monster; it needs compelling human characters to really have legs. Jaws isn’t really about a shark and that’s what makes it great. Its many imitators have been about a shark and that’s why they’ve largely failed.

In Shaun of the Dead, the zombies aren’t the focus. They’re just a plot engine that forces the characters to confront their own interpersonal conflicts.

9 Hot Fuzz Is A Close Second: It Brought American Cop Movie Traditions To The UK

Edgar Wright has said that one of the main factors that drew him toward the idea for Hot Fuzz was that there isn’t as much a tradition of British cop movies as there is in Hollywood. That provided him with a unique angle from which to tackle Hot Fuzz.

What sets Hot Fuzz apart from other buddy cop spoofs is its setting. It’s not just a pastiche of the Lethal Weapon formula; it’s a pastiche of the Lethal Weapon formula set in a sleepy English village.

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8 Shaun Of The Dead Is The Best: It’s A Legitimately Great Zombie Movie

If all the jokes were removed and Shaun of the Dead was played straight, it would be a genuinely great zombie-infested horror movie. Wright builds the tension masterfully throughout the movie and the jump scares land on every viewing.

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Wright and Pegg’s intention was not to make fun of zombie movies, which is why they’re hesitant to call Shaun a parody of zombie movies, because they love the genre and didn’t want to do it a disservice.

7 Hot Fuzz Is A Close Second: The Action Is Spectacular

Drawing from such disparate influences as John Woo and Michael Bay, Edgar Wright delivered action in Hot Fuzz that was spectacularly made. Very few action comedies deliver on the action front, but Hot Fuzz has its cake and eats it, too, and it’s glorious.

In some cases, the action is subdued for comedic effect, like the set piece that holds the record for the shortest car chase in film history — although Danny still thought it was brilliant — but those jokes only land because, by contrast, the rest of the film’s action is explosive, intense, and incredibly well-directed.

6 Shaun Of The Dead Is The Best: One Genre Is Layered On Top Of Another

One of the most inspired things about Shaun of the Dead is that it starts by adhering to the conventions of one genre and dips into the conventions of another genre along the way.

In the opening scenes, Shaun is set up as a Richard Curtis-style romantic comedy or a Mike Leigh-style British drama, but the twist comes when that familiar, seemingly grounded story is interrupted by a zombie apocalypse.

5 Hot Fuzz Is A Close Second: It’s An Eclectic Mix Of Genres

While it’s definitely a buddy cop movie, first and foremost, Hot Fuzz is drawn from an eclectic mix of genres. It flits between action and comedy, but the murder scenes are ripped straight from grisly slashers, while there’s an Agatha Christie element to Nicholas Angel’s investigation.

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The idea of a sinister organization controlling a seemingly innocent town can be traced back to paranoid horror movies like The Wicker Man (hammered home by the presence of Edward Woodward).

4 Shaun Of The Dead Is The Best: The Character Development Is Fantastic

In most great stories, a character is stuck in a rut before unforeseeable circumstances force them to step up to the plate and grow as a person. This is exactly what happens with the titular everyman hero in Shaun of the Dead.

At the beginning of the movie, he’s a slacker, with Pete representing his ambitions and Ed representing his shortcomings. The zombie apocalypse forces Shaun to develop as a character.

3 Hot Fuzz Is A Close Second: It Lampoons Every Cliché Under The Sun

When Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg first started writing Hot Fuzz, they decided to include as many clichés as they could possibly cram into the movie for satirical purposes, because no genre is as cliché-ridden as the buddy cop movie.

They got a lot of these clichés from a book by legendary film critic Roger Ebert called Ebert’s Bigger Little Movie Glossary, including a driving shot taken from the middle of the road as opposed to a lane and a character instantly finding a light switch after waking up in a dark room.

2 Shaun Of The Dead Is The Best: It’s Slightly Tighter

There’s rarely any dead weight in an Edgar Wright movie. His filmmaking style is so snappy and fast-paced that he barely gives you a chance to look down at your popcorn. But Shaun of the Dead is slightly tighter than Hot Fuzz.

For starters, Hot Fuzz is about a half-hour longer than Shaun, so Shaun is brisker in the literal sense, but every single second of Shaun is necessary, whereas Hot Fuzz has a couple of sequences that drag ever so slightly.

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1 Hot Fuzz Is A Close Second: The Buddy Cop Dynamic Was Perfect For Pegg And Frost’s Chemistry

Every movie in the “Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy,” not to mention Spaced and Paul, exemplifies the on-screen chemistry shared by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. They have the kind of repartee that can only come from real-life friends. Even the best actors in the world can’t fake that.

The dynamic of mismatched cops made perfect use of their palpable chemistry, especially given the fact that most of Nicholas and Danny’s dialogue was recycled verbatim from a scrapped romantic subplot for Nicholas.

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