After Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, their distinctively British takes on the zombie movie and the policier, respectively, the writer-director Edgar Wright and writer-actor Simon Pegg present a similarly cheeky pastiche of the paranoid sci-fi thriller. But they have made some slight modifications to the formula.
Pegg plays Gary King, a more-than-usually disagreeable, irresponsible and idiotic man-child, while this time there are four straight-men: Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan and Martin Freeman, as the grown-up and respectable forty-something former friends who are persuaded to join King on a nostalgic pub crawl around their former home town.
The fictional Newton Haven is an English market town so quintessentially ordinary that in America it might have been called Stepford. But in the 20 years since the gang left, it seems to have grown ever more homogenised. And are they being paranoid, or have the townsfolk become extra and eerily conformist?
Well, there is certainly some neat repurposing of old sci-fi tropes, even if the action scenes do become somewhat bloated and repetitive in the third act. And despite the bathos, The World's End succeeds as a cheerful celebration of pub culture, blokeish banter and early-Nineties indie hits.