14. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Key players: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Edgar Wright, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Penelope Wilton, Bill Nighy
Why it's great: This horror-comedy achieves a winning balance between the two genres it straddles, working equally well as both laugh-out-loud comedy and zombie-movie gross-out. Thanks to screenwriter/star Simon Pegg's host of sharply-drawn characters it also, amazingly, functions as a genuine tear-jerker in spots, evoking a level of human feeling that's rare for any film, much less a "genre" flick with a title like "Shaun of the Dead." Edgar Wright's elegant juggling of the film's disparate tonal threads is made even more impressive by just how aggressively he meets each of his goals - never settling for "good enough" in any department when he can exceed our expectations in all of them. What we're left with is an embarrassment of cinematic riches - uproarious comedy, ultra-gory fright flick, sharp satire and touching character study, all contained within a single, glorious whole.
- Chris Eggertsen