It’s fair to say that there are already a lot of zombie films about. And this is no bad thing, for zombies are highly entertaining in all their slow walking, face falling off, flesh-hungry moaning glory. So now you have to do something a bit special with the genre, like Nazi zombies in Dead Snow or zombie sheep in Black Sheep. Well, now we have zombies running amok in the East end of London, traditional home of the cockney. And more cockneys trying to escape them, without letting zombies sink their Hampstead Heath into their Gregory Peck’s. If you know what I mean. This is Cockneys vs Zombies.
After a rather striking opening credit sequence which performs the admirable task of making The Automatic song ‘Monster’ seem OK again, we are introduced to Andy (Harry Treadaway) and his brother Terry (Rasmus Hardiker). Their Granddad Ray (Alan Ford) is in a retirement home that is due to be torn down by the council, with the inhabitants relocated to places where they won’t know anyone and have probably never been before. So with the help of their cousin Katie (Michelle Ryan) and a couple of other carefully selected team members called Mental Mickey and Davey Tuppence, the brothers plan to rob a bank, to get the money to pay for the old folks home to stay just where it is.
But wouldn’t you know it, the best laid plans go to waste when a zombie apocalypse breaks out, after builders disturb a sealed crypt on an East London building site.
If you have ever wanted to see Richard Briers wield an uzi, this is your opportunity.
First and foremost, Cockneys vs Zombies is a comedy. There is a fair bit of gore, but this is definitely not a horror film. Generally speaking, the dialogue is snappy and very funny. Many will know Alan Ford best as having played Brick Top in Snatch _or the priest in BBC3 comedy _Snuff Box. Well, he steals the show here, but then that is possibly because he is by far the most authentically knees up cockney of the lot of them and gets some of the best lines. Watch out for his brief, reminiscent flash-back to his time as a soldier, which is utterly brilliant.
Amongst the elder members of the cast there are a good many faces recognisable from films or television past. Honor Blackman, who once bore the name that you wonder how they got past the sixties censors, Pussy Galore, is Peggy, and Richard Briers plays Hamish, both inhabitants of the retirement home. If you have ever wanted to see Richard Briers wield an uzi, this is your opportunity.
Cockneys vs Zombies plays with the zombie genre in such a beautiful, comic way that it is certainly up there with Shaun of the Dead in the post-modern zombie flick stakes. Perhaps not as clever as Shaun, but probably funnier, it is one of the most unabashedly fun and entertaining films of 2012. And it’s so cockney that Chas n Dave even wrote the end credits music.
Cockneys vs Zombies is out in UK cinemas August 31st.