Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cockneys vs. Zombies (2012) - FilmReview

Artile author: Alwyn Ash

Doctor Who fans will appreciate the connection between Planet of the Dead and Cockneys...

Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Zombieland (2009) are the two lead films that I would say had managed to take the zombie franchise and really do something new with it, make us laugh and show that there is still plenty of life in these kind of movies if they are approached correctly. This is exactly where 2012 hit Cockneys vs. Zombies fits in, a tale of inexperienced bank robbers who are caught in the middle of a zombie holocaust in London.

Of course we are on the side of these criminals from the start, as their schemes are put into action to prevent a retirement home from being demolished by developers. Sweet. With a cast including Michelle Ryan, Honor Blackman, Harry Treadaway, Richard Briers, and Alan Ford, there is much to admire about this outing for the flesh-eating walkers.

And I might as well focus on Ryan's performance first: what a treat to see this young talented actress in something that deserves her presence, as Katy, one of the robbers and a character who will have you smiling. Not only is she a tough act, but Doctor Who fans will appreciate the connection between Planet of the Dead and Cockneys... Not only is she clad in black gear, again, but watch out for a double-decker London bus! You will also be interested to know that the screenplay is written by James Moran and Lucas Roche - Moran wrote the 2008 Doctor Who story The Fires of Pompeii and contributed as writer to other shows including Primeval and Torchwood. He will also be linked to next year's Silent Night of the Living Dead feature starring horror legend Tom Savini.

For me, seeing a gang of pensioners holding off against a horde of zombies is worthy alone of the comedy tag - even more so when you see just what they are capable of when faced with almost impossible odds, led by Ford's Ray Maguire (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch).

One reviewer had said "Cockneys vs Zombies won’t win prizes for originality. It’s very nearly a remake of Shaun Of The Dead", however I disagree - yes, there are similarities but where in Shaun did we see OAPs battling it out with zombies using bad language and a holdall of guns? German director Matthias Hoene manages to balance out both horror and comedy to full affect, giving us a bunch of people who, in the ordinary world, have never amounted to much and yet brave an outbreak...

The zombies are played straight, which allows the human characters to achieve their mishaps with even greater impact and the comic timing is set just perfectly in a script that simply shouldn't have worked at all. The very title "Cockneys vs. Zombies" makes you think of a low-budget affair, something that a group of college students might have whipped up in their spare time. And yet, this is one film that shoots a spectacular goal. Talking of which, even in death there is rivalry between football fans - as two gangs of zombies face up!

Subtlety is certainly missing from this feature, and there is enough gore to shock those who are not used to zombie flicks. For me personally, actor Briers (yes, another Doctor Who connection - 1987's Paradise Towers) is fabulous, as he tries to out-walk zombies using his Zimmer frame, and later when he straps an Uzi to the Zimmer and joins in with the battle against the brainless walking dead...

If you are looking for something to join your Shaun and Zombieland movie collection then Cockneys is the perfect treat.