Wednesday, 7 November 2012

[REVIEW] - Cockneys vs Zombies

Director: Matthias Hoene
Starring: Michelle Ryan, Alan Ford, Honor Blackman, Harry Treadaway
Certificate: 15
Run-time: 88 minutes

IN SHORT: Cockneys vs Zombies is good fun and that's all you can ask for from such a premise. Recommended to lovers of zombie movies and Guy Ritchie.

When you watch a film as ludicrously titled as Cockneys vs Zombies you have to go in with certain expectations and just hope for a good time. Long gone are the days when a zombie film was made as a political statement on social equality and race. These days the horror scene is bursting with generic zombie movies, all cheaply made and direct to video. This is fine for dedicated fans of the undead but most of these movies are forgettable, bargain bin material. Whilst, Cockneys vs Zombies is another shallow zombie movie, its East End twist makes it undeniable fun.

In the opening scene of Cockneys vs Zombies, some builders enter an underground chamber and get violently decapitated by a reanimated corpse. Meanwhile, two incompetent brothers, Andy and Terry and their rag-tag group of foul-mouthed cockneys are robbing a bank. They plan to buy out their grandfather's nursing home, which is due to be demolished. When the group leave the bank with £2 million in their pockets, they find that a zombie apocalypse has been unleashed upon the East End. Suddenly, robbing a bank is the least of their worries.

Cockneys vs Zombies
Harry Treadway and Michelle Ryan mow down zombies in Cockneys vs Zombies
Most zombie movies have the hero journey to the other end of town in search of a loved one. In Shaun of the Dead, Pegg and co's quest is to save his mother and seek refuge in the Winchester. And in 2009's Zombieland, Jesse Eisenberg wants to get back to his home town of Tallahassee. Cockneys vs Zombies plot is just as simple as Andy and Terry must fight their way through London's undead horde to get back to their grandfather's nursing home. Other than the flesh-hungry zombies, Andy and Terry have also got the added problem of the two hostages they've taken - the bank manager and secretary.

Cockneys vs Zombies is a lot of fun thanks to its crass British humour and bloody over the top violence. For example, in one gruesome scene, our group encounter a zombified single mother with a push-chair. After dealing with the chavvy mother, Andy picks up the zombie baby and punts it over a wall. If such a scene sounds offensive to you, it's best to give Cockneys vs Zombies a miss! The writer's don't just use blood and gore to make you laugh though. There's a fair amount of self-aware humour with parodies of both gangster movies and of the zombie genre itself.

Alan Ford Cockneys vs Zombies
Alan Ford: Zombie Slayer
Many of the laughs come from the elderly residents of the nursing home. There's something hugely satisfying about seeing 70-year old pensioners strapping Uzi's to zimmer frames and fighting off the undead. The undoubted star of the film is Alan Ford who's cockney drawl you may recognise from Snatch and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. As Ray, he leads the group of OAP's as they defend themselves against the hordes of zombies. He's joined by Honor Blackman, who 60 years ago was starring alongside Sean Connery as Pussy Galore. Pussy Galore armed with a semi-automatic rifle and slaying zombies. If that doesn't sell the movie to you, nothing will!

Originality is difficult to find when it comes to zombie movies and Cockneys vs Zombies doesn't push the boundaries of the genre or deviate from convention. The obviously low budget also hampers the experience somewhat. It's only natural that Cockneys vs Zombies will be associated with Shaun of the Dead and whilst it doesn't quite reach those heights, it is an entertaining zombie film in its own right.


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