Synopsis: When the dead start rising across the East End of London, a gang of inept bank robbers must fight their way back to save their Grandad and his friends who are under siege in their nursing home…..Bonkers
Arguably we have reached the pinnacle of the Zombie/Vampire Zeitgeist. Generally the deaththrows of a genre or sub-genre’s popularity comes when studios and financiers will throw money at anything vaguely related to the subject in order to try and cash in. This inevitably leads to three things;
1. market saturation to the point where no one cares any more and starts to remember they really liked Pokemon, and want more Pokemon again and SOMEONE GIVE ME POKEMON!!;
2. more and more ludicrous ways of crowbarring zombies/vampires/werewolves/fairies into things
3. an eventual and steep drop in the quality of the films as they are rushed through screenwriting and production to catch the crest of the wave.
Looking at Cockneys Vs Zombies you’d be hard pushed not to tick each of the above. Low budget effects, no stars (Michelle Ryan anyone?), unknown director. So why was it so bloody entertaining?
The story is as simple as they come and standard for most zombie pics; two groups separated by a relatively short distance made to feel like a million miles due to the hundreds or thousands of brown bread (cockney rhyming slang for dead) between them, trying to find each other to survive. Pretty standard. The difference in this case is the two groups consist of a group of sweary pensioners at one end and a group of London’s most inept bank robbers at the other. The connection? Two of the bank robbers are the grandsons of one of the pensioners (Alan Ford) and they are tyring to save the nursing home from being bulldozed.
It is like someone made a B-Movie Cake by taking Snatch and 28 Days Later, putting them through a blender, before stuffing the resultant mixture with a fat wad of Nude Nuns With Big Guns (or any other equally stupid B-Movie mash up). The result though is far from terrible. It is in fact deliciously entertaining and chuckle-some.
Firstly it takes a person made of stone not to find the sight of an 88 year old granny locking and cocking an AK-47 before dropping an f-bomb and spraying a room full of undead Londoners absurdly funny. The best of the humor comes from the scenes within the Nursing Home as the band of octogenarian survivors battle their way through the hoards of oncoming face munchers. It’s like watching The Expendables grand-parents going full Rambo.
The nursing home could easily have been a retirement village for great old British actors and actresses who don’t get much work anymore. Alan Ford is in full Brick Top from Snatch mode, swearing like a true Cockney nutter, clenching his teeth and dispatching the undead with hot lead. Honor Blackman still looks stunning for 88 and I have always wanted to see Catherine Gale from The Avengers (original British one not Marvel one) wielding an automatic weapon. Richard Briers (God rest him) is brilliantly dithery in his last role before his death in February this year.
The young cast also do themselves proud with some great comic timing and genuine chemistry between the two leads, Rasmus Hardiker and Harry Treadaway. Even former soap star Michelle Ryan isn’t ear screamingly terrible as the “tough broad”.
Cockney’s Vs Zombies is at it’s heart an absolute, stone cold B-Movie. 30 years ago this would have been a Roger Corman flick for a young up and coming Director to cut their teeth. Where Cockney’s Vs Zombies rises above the bargain bin it could have easily ended up in is by playing the whole thing with it’s tongue firmly in cheek. It never takes itself seriously and it gets a lot of fun from the visual comedy of immobile pensioners fighting equally immobile zombies and the dynamic of the young criminals with good intentions. In fact it contains one of the great zombie sight gags where Richard Briers gets chased very slowly on his zimmerframe by a very slow moving walker. It could easily have been a left over gag from Shaun of the Dead.
Conclusion: Shaun of the Dead it isn’t, but it is a strong contender for one of the most surprisingly entertaining movies I have watched recently. My expectations were in the bargain bin and they were very much exceeded. Won’t win any awards but does exactly as it promises by pitting Cockneys against Zombies.
Director: Matthias Hoene – only one other film before CvZ which was equally as bonkers sounding Beyond the Rave which revolves around an English soldier finding and winning back his girlfriend from the clutches of a mysterious group of hardcore ravers before he flies to Iraq in the morning. Yup……
Writer: Matthias Hoene; James Moran – best known for another entertaining British comedy horror film, Severance.
- No trivia of note
Currently streaming on LoveFilm