4 out of 10

Release Date: 31st August 2012

Director: Matthias Hoene

Cast: Harry Treadaway, Rasmus Hardiker, Michelle Ryan, Ashley Thomas, Jack Doolan, Georgia King, Dudley Sutton, Tony Gardner, Georgina Hale, Tony Selby, Phil Cornwell, Gary Beadle with Richard Briers, Honor Blackman, Dexter Fletcher and Alan Ford

Writer: James Moran & Lucas Roche



I’m a bit disappointed with Cockneys Vs. Zombies in that the trailer made it look like so much fun.  Maybe it’s because it’s arrived so late in the Zombie movie cycle and that it suffers by comparison to the king of Zom-Coms, Shaun Of The Dead.  It also has to line up behind Peter Jackson’s Braindead or the American, Zombie Land.  It’s a case of the trailer containing all the best jokes as well.  The trailer is hilarious but there are no funnier gags in the film if any.  The cast are certainly game and the Zombie make up is up to spec but the whole thing feels scrappy and loose. Cockneys Vs. Zombies needed to come along earlier or when Zombies have at last receded from pop-culture for it to stand out.  The title is even borrowed / knicked from last spring’s Strippers Vs. Werewolves, another East End horror comedy that had more ideas than money.  Strippers was certainly scrappier than this but it was heaps funnier and more creative.  The casting of old TV favourites though is very inspired and it’s good to see the likes of Honor Blackman (JAMES BOND – GOLDFINGER) and Dudley Sutton (ORLANDO) tool up and serve zombie ass. Richard Briers (RUN FOR YOUR WIFE) shows up for a bit too and he is just great, cast against type.  He has the best gag of the film involving a zimmer frame (see the TRAILER).

The plot as it stands begins with a black plague tomb being unearthed by property developers led by Phil Cornwell (STELLA STREET).  They get bitten by some zombies and so it goes.  Meanwhile, two brothers (RASMUS HARDIKER – YOUR HIGHNESS) and (HARRY TREDAWAY – CITY OF EMBER) and a group of their friends are in the process of robbing a bank to raise money to save an old peoples’ home from said property barons.  The brothers’ Granddad, a sweary old gangster played by Alan Ford (JACK FALLS) lives there.  The hordes of zombies hamper their progress in forming a rescue for the oldies and so on.

The supporting cast are made up of Michelle Ryan (HUGE) (well cast at last!), Ashley Thomas (SHANK) (reliable), Georgia King (ONE DAY) and Jack Doolan (CEMETERY JUNCTION).  They bring a lot of energy to their slim parts but I guess there’s only so much character development you can expect in a zombie flick. The script is mainly comprised of exchanges that go something like “RARGHH”, “HE’S BEHIND YOU, YOU SILLY C*NT!*, BANG <- a gunshot.  As Alan Ford says in the extras, “it’s not Chekhov“!

4 out of 10 – It’s still fun but just pretend it’s the first zombie film you’ve ever seen and it’ll be amazing.  Like I say, there’s not much wrong with it. More jokes, a scarier lead up (other than Eastenders‘ alumni Gary Beadle (THE COMIC STRIP PRESENTS) getting his face munched to funny effect) and some invention would have set it ahead of the pack.  I think it’s just happy to coast along in the middle though.  If you’re looking for a little horror-com that can, try Stitches!


One thought on “COCKNEYS VS. ZOMBIES

  1. review by Matt Usher aka Joe Pesci II aka Brit Pic Birke

    Cockneys vs Zombies
    Now, if I was the sort of chap who wrote short reviews I could probably just say COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES flows in the same bloodstream as SHAUN OF THE DEAD and DOGHOUSE, and that it is worse than the former and better than the latter.
    Actually, that pretty much covers it. It’s an unexpectedly good little film, lacking any pretentions, but is nothing special either. Fans of zombie films may feel a bit shortchanged perhaps, but that’s their fault for attaching themselves to such a limited subgenre (and they’ve got no cause to complain really because both sets of characters get frustratingly holed up for ages with no way out, which is one of the duller staples of zombie moviedom; however, a comparison of the garage siege here compared with the garage siege in DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND confirms that it’s better to be under siege in a garage in a comic zombie film than under siege in a supposedly serious zombie film). (This is the sort of thing that zombie mythology (Zombology?) has taught me). It’s pretty funny (I liked the baby), very stupid, you could argue that there aren’t enough cockneys on view (or vice versa), and Chas ‘n’ Dave do the song. I realise that that last sentence may read to some people like a description of hell on earth; so be it. If you think cinema has better things to do than regurgitate the same old stories about global destruction as seen from the points of view of various wastrels and scoundrels who take up arms in a perhaps futile effort to survive or conquer, then this is not the film for you. If you think films should aspire to the great heights achieved by Bergman and Fellini then this is not the film for you. If you think the sight of dodgy skeletons biting the faces off minor characters whilst painfully obvious CGI mice run all over the place for literally seconds might not be the best way to spend 85 minutes, then this is not the film for you. On the other hand, if you approach this with low expectations (and perhaps a moderately high alcohol intake) then you may find yourself reasonably surprised by this efficient enough runabout.
    So some moderately cockneyish youngsters (yes, I’ve reached the age where I can call adults ‘youngsters’!) mastermind a bank heist to save their very cockney grandad’s retirement home. Harry Treadaway and Rasmus Hardiker (surely a stage name?) are the likely lads involved and make for an engaging if not particularly memorable partnership. Alas, their plan goes awry as it coincides with one of those not infrequent zombie holocausts which tend to plague low budget British films these days. They are joined in their adventures by the requisite motley crew: Ashley Thomas as a delightfully deranged nutter, Jack Doolan as a comedy character which shouldn’t work but does (he’s not a millions miles away from Nick Frost). Meanwhile Georgia King does some scene-stealing as an innocent bystander. And then there’s Michelle Ryan, whose Brechtian approach usually irks, but who seems here both well cast and to actually believe in what she’s doing. (Typical, I try to give someone a decent review and make it sound like a gripe – sorry Michelle.)
    Most of the actors get a chance to shine a bit (though I’d liked a bit more of the old folks) – Briers, Selby, Sutton, Blackman and Hale are all great, whilst Alan Ford does his Alan Ford thing (if you know Alan Ford then you’ll know whether you like the Alan Ford thing or not; personally, I’d never heard of him until last September when it suddenly seemed as if everyone I mentioned him to was a big fan; if you too don’t know him then watching this film will give you all you need to know; mind you, if you don’t know who Alan Ford is you probably shouldn’t be visiting this site; he’s probably our patron or something). There has to be some sort of spin-off sitcom here – Honor Blackman and Dudley Sutton as an elderly Bonnie and Clyde rampaging unexpectedly through the home counties perhaps, dishing out their own brand of justice?
    Now, as I understand these things, zombie films are usually metaphors. Clearly COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES is in fact a meditation on the nature of David Cameron’s Big Society, as a couple of plucky ne’er-do-wells take drastic steps to improve (no, to maintain) the quality of life of the old folk (whom Mr Cameron seems happy to abandon), even as the banks so beloved of our leaders are trying to cause them to be deported to places like Bradford (the old folk not the politicians) (I work in Bradford – for a few weeks more anyway, and believe me, you wouldn’t want to be an old cockney up here). Meanwhile a terrible rage tears through the city as society literally eats itself. Is the film suggesting our only hope is the next generation? Or that our salvation lies through cockney power? Or is it suggesting there is no salvation, and that the authorities can only stand back with the rest of us and watch as we gorge ourselves on the festering entrails of our once fellow man? Or is it a demonstration of the importance of the bond between young an old, a recognition that we are all much the same really, and that, as Mr Cameron used to say, we’re all in it together? Or maybe COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES is just an excuse to show cockneys splattering lots of zombies? (And vice versa.) I’m not sure.
    The lenticular cover of the DVD quotes Starburst magazine as saying this is ‘A mad rollicking mash up of SHAUN OF THE DEAD and LOCK STOCK’. It’s more GRANGE HILL does 28 DAYS LATER (but in a good way). So, in summary I’d say COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES is infinitely better than DOGHOUSE but not quite up there with SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Or have I mentioned that already?

    5 out of 10

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