Cockneys vs Zombies cleverly subverts the ‘does what it says on the tin’ simplicity of it’s title to instead become a meditative, thought provoking film about the nature of loyalty to family and the deeds we will do to protect them, as well as the nature of our social identity, is it determined by the geographical location of our birth or does it change as we grow and change and the environment around us changes? Seen via the medium of zombie apocalypse to keep the kids awake and unaware that their very notions of self are being questioned and dissected right in front of them onscreen.
It’s truly an underappreciated art film wearing the clothes of low budget zombie-horror with an appropriate box office ($109,518 (worldwide) versus a 2.25 million pound budget) that truly delves into the idea of a fading community already under siege from those that care nothing for it’s history, only for what they can build in it’s place and their attempts to find a place for them in the world whilst they rage against the dying of the light.
The casting of mostly unknowns (with the possible exceptions of Honour Blackman- Richard Briar and Alan Ford) means that were able to identify with our leads whilst always worried that since we haven’t hard of them, it’s unlikely that they will suffer from plot armor, which always annoys me in a zombie or indeed any other type of film.
It begins with incredibly subtle symbolism of a pair of vultures sitting on top of an advertisement for flats that are being built before… within 3 minutes a pair of workmen have accidentally released a zombie horde, then Monster by The Automatics starts playing, we get opening credits that look like their ripped straight from a graphic novel and the film starts proper.
Because whilst there is some of the stuff I’ve just spent almost 300 words describing it’s also a really good horror comedy in it’s own right. I mean it’s not Shaun of the Dead, but it’s still a blast that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome at a mere 82 minutes- 87 if you include the credits.
Such plot as it is, feels like a blending of early Guy Ritchie and… naturally enough Shuan of the Dead whereupon a group of bank-robbers, in attempt to steal enough money to save their granddad’s retirement home and spare him from a retirement in ‘The North’ accidentally steal all the money from a fraud and then have to race across London to save their grandfather and all the others in his retirement home from becoming not so fast food to the zombies.
And this is a film that is the best version of itself, I liked all the human characters, appreciated the fact that these are slow moving Romero zombies and enjoyed this films many, many humorous touches- One that’s going to stink in my mind is one retirement home resident and their zimmer frame racing at top speed to escape the waking dead, all shot and scored as a fast paced chase action scene which just makes it all the funnier.
Naturally enough the low budget means that everything is done with practical effects, but if you have the silly idea that guns should run out of ammunition occasionally, seeing as their not magic bullet producing factories then you might not be in the right sort of frame for this sort of film.
On the other hand though, if you wanted gritty realism, then why are you watching a film called Cockneys vs Zombies? Hmmm?
Magic guns notwithstanding, there are a few other issues with the film, it’s characters never seem to be in enough danger for my tastes and when some do shuffle off this mortal coil it doesn’t have the emotional weight that it should. Also, it’s ending does seem a bit rushed, as if there was meant to be another 5 minutes of screen but the budget tran out so they just wrapped it up as best they could.
Also, this film had (at the start) at least, a habit of cutting to some funny non-sequitur flashbacks which I would have liked to have seen a few more of.
On top of that, it’s a good job that I liked all of the one dimensional characters as the zombies themselves (like I’ve already hinted) don’t really seem to pose much of a threat and appear to be held together by Twiglets.
But on the whole, Cockneys vs Zombies gets as much fun as it can out of watching a bunch of cockneys fight off the recently brown bread. It’s action scenes are mostly exciting and varied enough, even if this film did forget that zombies are only really scary in tight, claustrophobic locations (which is why most zombie films have the majority of their scenes in inside locations.) Because outside well, their just sort of there.
But, if you’ve ever wondered what a Guy Ritchie zombie film would look like, here’s the answer to your question.
My Score- See It