When I think about the best zombie movies, I think of comedy, horror, drama and great characters. Generally films in the wide genre all try and do something a bit different with the theme and with that in mind I settled into watch cockneys versus zombies. The sneak peeks I had seen in the last few years certainly suggested a unique premise that hadn’t been seen before and looked like we would have a great mix of laughs and horror.
The film opens with some builders working on the Olympic stadium in the East End of London. They are digging the site and come across a tomb sealed up in 1666 by the then King. The workers open the tomb which unleashes the eponymous Zombies across the East End. We’re also introduced to some subplots where an Old People’s Home is threatened with closure and the relatives of some of the residents are about to commit a bank robbery.
Once the zombies are unleashed they gradually start to take over the East End and so it falls upon the Cockneys to fight back, which gives us our fun premise and I’m pleased to say I was not let down. There are some fantastic sight gags and a lot of jokes sending up Cockney rhyming slang. One of the key strengths in the film is the casting, with notable British talent on board in the form of Alan ford, Richard Briers and Honor Blackman for the older generation and Harry Treadaway and Michelle Ryan on board from the younger generation combining to make up a brilliant ensemble cast.
The film is full of instantly classic moments that will certainly appeal to the British cinemagoer. We have plenty of great shots of the London skyline and it’s famous locations and we’re also treated to a memorable chase scene featuring a hijacked Route Master bus which feels reminiscent of Summer Holiday only with Zombies instead of attractive women. More humour comes from the older cast, most notably as they address the speed of zombies against the speed of old men in a hilarious scene where Richard Briers shines.
But what zombie movie wouldn’t be complete with an arsenal of weapons to take on the undead and sure enough, the cast eventually start packing some awesome weaponry which really contributes to an excellent scene where the elderly residents have to escape the Old People’s Home. The film becomes a very easy sell when you can advertise it on the basis of Honor Blackman and Richard Briers toting Uzis.
There are a number of impressive touches to set the film apart from others in the genre, including an inspired moment when a character with a metal plate in his skull becoming a Zombie rendering gunshots to the head useless. It’s one new idea I have never seen anyone do in a zombie movie before and it’s a great new idea and a welcome addition.
Zombies Versus Cockneys is an enormously fun film. Doubtless it should be held up there with the best of the new wave of British cinema and can rest comfortably alongside Shaun of the Dead for its entertainment factor and engaging characters.