What’s it About?
A gang of bank robbers fight their way out of a zombie-infested London.
“Cockneys vs Zombies”
Directed by Matthias Hoene
8 out of 10
This latest “Zom Com” from England is directed by Matthias Hoene who is known for his directing stint on the TV show “Trigger Point.” He provided the story which was written by James Moran (Torchwood) and Lucas Roche. Hoene’s hilariously wicked horror comedy is lean, tense, gory and yep, it’s actually funny. What you see in this movie is what you get. With a title like that you know that you are in for a treat and Hoene provides an everyday, looney slice of East End life. And that’s without Zombies.
The movie’s script is cheesy, cheeky and very British. If you dislike British horror coms (I personally love them) then this one surely isn’t for you. Everything and everyone is exaggerated and loud. There are some witty and not so witty dialog being sprayed about in equal measures with all the blood. Every once in a while you will hear some very Cockney accents and phrases like: “No, you sloppy tart, those things are fucking zombies!” or even: “You’re about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.” Yeah, it kind of runs the gamut.
It is still a pleasant package even though at times I had no fucking clue what the protagonists were saying half the time. No foul though. If I can get through 2 seasons of BBC’s “Luther” then CvZ is easy as cake. The film is still pretty crazy and definitely hilarious. Thanks to some great visual and physical gags that at times could give “Shaun of the Dead” a run for it’s money. Hoene knows going in that his movie will be about 2 thing: Gags and Gore.
His characters are varied and they are either psychotic, like Ashley Thomas’ “Mental” Mickey or even the hopeless Andy played by Harry Treadaway (Fish Tank). After we endear ourselves to the guys from almost the beginning of the movie, it continues with scene after scene of hilarity and mayhem. Just the way we like and want it. There’s even a zombie baby! Hell yes!
Hoene’s film starts with a construction crew excavating an underground burial chamber that had been sealed of by a past British Royal named Charles II. They take a poke around inside and one of them gets bitten after messing around with a skull by an emaciated zombie. The same zombie goes after the other frightened worker biting his entire lower lip and part of his jaw off. Thus begins the outbreak as the zombies all begin to expand past the construction compound and infect others.
Meanwhile, dopey losers and slacker brothers Andy and Terry are making plans to rob a local East End bank in order to save their ex-criminal Grandfather Ray’s (Alan Ford) retirement home from being demolished. They resort to such tactics after the money they saved up was stolen by other thieves. They meet up with a cousin named Katy (Michelle Ryan) and the aforementioned “Mental Mickey.” Things go a bit wrong at the bank and the crew end up with a bank employee as a hostage and the gang gets sidetracked by ravenous zombies.
The comedy switches back from Andy and Terry’s group, that get cornered in a warehouse, to Ray and Peggy’s group at the retirement home. Alan Ford (Chaplin) is a riot to watch in CvZ, he is foul mouthed, angry and quite abrasive but when he has to lead the seniors in defending the home he sides with Peggy (Honor Blackman of “Goldfinger”) to help.
During one scene Ray musters all his reserve to help a fellow senior who is outside napping sparking of one of the slowest and most hilarious zombie chase sequences ever. Always being over the top, CvZ is simply about some nitwits against zombies and it is always quite entertaining. The movie treads over familiar ground and uses the template that “Shaun of the Dead” perfected in order to project new ways to show bloody zombie mayhem.
It finds it’s footing capably and manages to be riotous and diverting. There are some great zombie (and human) kills and for the most part they are unique and downright gory. One stand out scene involves Footballer Zombies going after each other with blades and broken glass. This movie is ripe with crazy stuff like that.
Changing the action, after a violent battle at the warehouse that involves Mickey and his “Metal Plate,” to the old folks home proves very funny and completely veracious. Terry and Andy’s group make it back to help Ray at the home after they find a cache of weapons and all bloody hell (sorry, I had to say it) breaks loose there where we have the seniors packing heat and mowing down zombies with shotguns and semi-automatics, all the while with bandolero music playing. The film starts to really rocket ahead when the gang of seniors along with Ray, the brothers and Katy break away from the retirement home and escape in a double decker bus and eventually a river boat. Hoene establishes great style right from the beginning and he doesn’t try to break any new ground because he isn’t out to do that.
He wants the audience to have fun and we do. This Zom Com has great energy and it revels in it’s ability to disgust, entertain and make us laugh. The personalities are all very vibrant and colorful. Ford and Blackman steal the show and CvZ has true replay value which will help it to obtain cult status down the line. Hoene’s movie is part heist film, part commentary on the lives of seniors in England and all parts gore and laughs. Oh and I must mention the cool “Graphic Novel” animated style opening and closing credits.
Very well done and fun to watch. The film’s theme song has to be heard to believe. If you are not a regular watcher of all things BBC then some of the dialects and slang which is all over the film may confuse you a bit. You may want to watch with subtitles on. For me, though, this movie could have been in Mandarin and I would still have enjoyed the shit out of it. Highly recommended!