Release Date: 14th January 2013 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Matt Mitchell (It Never Sleeps)

Cast: Huggy Leaver, Vincent Jerome, Cassandra Orhan, Frank Rizzo, Charlie Rawes, Simon Mathews with Jennie Lathan and Fabrizio Santino

Writer: Matt Mitchell & Taliesyn Mitchell




  • Huggy Leaver: Fast and Furious 6, Freebird, Somers Town, Eastenders (TV), Going Off Big Time, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  • Cassandra Orhan: It Never Sleeps
  • Charlie Rawes: It Never Sleeps
  • Simon Mathews: It Never Sleeps, The Dead Inside (2013)
  • Fabrizio Santino: It Never Sleeps, Hollyoaks (TV), Turnout



    A gang of gangsters has just robbed a bank and is making its getaway. One of them has been shot. Pausing to put ‘hospital’ into the satnav, their van is ambushed by zombies! This turns out not to be a surprise as the zombie holocaust is well under way already. This is the only real surprise in the film (well, it isn’t now), but it only serves to (a) make our characters even more unlikeable, and (b) show that they’re quite incredibly stupid to be stealing money at the moment when money has lost its value. The gangsters shoot the zombies with a gun (thus explaining the film’s obscure and challenging title) and drive off to a safe house which they never reach because of all the zombies, some of them die, then they arrive at a windmill, occupied by two women, some of them die, then they head off to the coast, hoping to catch a boat to Europe and freedom.

    So yes, welcome to the madcap world of GANGSTERS, GUNS AND ZOMBIES, a deeply desperately dumb film, devoid of ideas, and executed with so little verve and joy that I suspect that the film-makers may have been zombies as well.

    Our gang is further handicapped by being made up of ‘characters’ (a word I use in an extremely loose sense) who can be summed up in just a couple of words. Indeed, our hero (going by the name of Q, which is the most interesting thing about him) gives us a voice-over in which he does just that, and nothing we subsequently see gives us any cause to doubt him. I kid you not, this gang comprises: Crazy Steve (he’s just crazy!, well actually he’s not that crazy, just a bit of a dick), Pat (bank robbery middle management suggests Q in one of the film’s few decent lines), Tony (the boss obviously) (hmmm, Tony and Pat, I wonder if there’s a Rettendon reference there?), a big bloke called Muscles, and Danny, who is dying. (A metatextual reference perhaps to the career of the popular Cockney thespian Danny Dyer?) Having set our ‘characters’ up, the film-makers don’t dare do anything with them to alter or challenge them. Are there any power struggles or disagreements? No. When the fighting comes, it’s loveable lunk Muscles who does most of it. When decisions need to be made it’s the boss Tony who makes them. If anyone has to be moderately crazy, stupid or tactless, here’s Crazy Steve!

    To embody these non-dimensional creations, the casting director has assembled a cast which seems to be made up of people who almost (but not quite) look like they might be lookalikes for people who almost look like more famous actors. Dying Danny looks like he’s played by someone who wants to be Nick Nevern. The wonderfully named Huggy Leaver is Tony, a disturbing yet dreary cross between Ray Winstone and Mark E Smith. Frank Rizzo looks like Terry Stone in a wig. Fabrizio Santino (honestly, I’m not making these names up) plays Crazy Steve much as Lee Ross might have done, but without the talent (which seems to have vanished from Ross himself in recent years). I liked Charlie Rawes as Muscles, the only one to exhibit anything like comic timing or an understanding of what the film wanted to be. And Vincent Jerome is a nice, inoffensively bland lead, who looks like he’s trying desperately to believe that his agent was right to persuade him that this would lead to something better.

    Our heroes encounter two women at the windmill, Cassandra Orhan, who plays Cassie (dearest Christ, could they really not be bothered to think up a name for the token bird?) and her nan (Jennie Latham playing ‘Grandma’). The latter’s comic trait is her trigger-happy foul-mouthed disposition. Poor Cassie has no characteristics whatsoever, so of course she falls for Q.

    Beyond the holocaust having already started, the film does manage to spring two (!) minor surprises. One is a leading character’s death; the other is the number of survivors who make it to the end – it’s a very high number, suggesting that they may have run out of money for the final massacre. The finale we do get, a battle with zombies in a warehouse, is perfunctory at best, but this is at least in keeping with the film as a whole.

    There’s something rather sad about GANGSTERS, GUNS AND ZOMBIES. It feels like a late entry into a race that’s already been run. It has nothing new to add to any of its genres (it even makes DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND look imaginative and intelligent), and it has no idea how to profitably reheat any old ideas. It really is just a bunch of lads driving about getting into occasional zombie-related scrapes then skidaddling. One of the set pieces sees them stumbling upon the zombified members of a medieval re-enactment society. This could have been fun. But it turns into a dumb fight. In a desperate bid to add something, anything, the film-makers juxtapose Pachelbel’s famously calming musical Canon with a shot of the gangsters kicking a zombie to bits (from the zombie’s P.O.V.). Presumably a comic moment, I have no idea what the joke was meant to be.

    If you’re a fan of the benighted zombie genre, then it is only fair to warn you that the zombies on show are pretty dull (though I don’t see why I should warn you; you should watch this film to see just how bad you genre of choice can get). Like the zombie ladies of DOGHOUSE many of them seem to be wearing costumes rather than clothes, and some of them are very dainty and polite when they start nibbling away at various corpses.

    GANGSTERS, GUNS AND ZOMBIES is a film of almost monumental non-descriptitude (yes, I’ve had to make a new word up). It is pointless, vapid, stupid, tedious, dismal, awful, poor and generally below average. It makes DOGHOUSE look like DOCTOR ZHIVAGO.

    review by Joe “yer mutha socks elefint dicks” Pesci II

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