I was round a friend’s house t’other day, and we were looking for something to watch on his streaming digital thingy, and we eventually settled for a British comedy-horror flick called Cockneys vs Zombies (2012). Neither of us expected very much from it, but ended up being thoroughly entertained and amused… from the surprisingly classy opening titles, to the fantastically catchy Chas and Dave theme song that played out over the end credits*. It ain’t a masterpiece by any means, but it gave us something to chuckle at and groan over together, so I’m grateful for that.
Cast-wise, Michelle Ryan stars as ‘Katy’, the kick-ass cousin of two bumbling brothers, who set out to rob a bank in order to save their grandfather’s rest-home from being demolished. Unfortunately, while they’re busy bungling the heist, a couple of hapless builders bust open an ancient crypt, and unleash a virus that turns its carriers into shuffling, flesh-eating zombies! And God bless Katie for calling them “zombies” as soon as she sees them… I literally cheered when she said the word aloud! She also knows exactly how to deal with the blighters, and isn’t shy about spilling bullets and blood as the gang blast their way through the undead horde, en route to rescue their beloved patriarch,(played by the peerless Alan Ford… who steals the movie hands-down, bless ‘im).
Along the way, they’re helped/hampered by a couple of hostages they pick up at the bank… including a posh, pretty customer played by Georgia King (hurrah!). She doesn’t get to rack up as many kills as Katie, but it’s pretty funny seeing her hesitantly nudging at zombies with a shovel, before apologetically decapitating them! And how adorable does she look in her backwards army helmet? Totes adorable! Meanwhile, over at the rest-home, you have veteran actresses Georgina Hale and Honor Blackman playing a pair of feisty pensioners… and the late, great Richard Briers, firing an Uzi taped to his zimmer frame! Top stuff. Oh, and a very brief flashback cameo by Dannielle Brent as the brothers’ deceased mother.
As I say, some of the jokes are a bit lame/corny… and the supposedly “serious” dramatic moment doesn’t work at all… and the FX look kinda cheap… but it’s nicely filmed, and there are some hilariously left-field cutaway gags, plus some great gore, plenty of cheer-worthy “hero” moments, and some gratuitous patriotic pandering. If I were feeling particularly brave (or there weren’t too many people around to hear me), I might even suggest it was a better zombie flick than Shaun of the Dead… in the sense that what I want to see in a zombie story is a group of disparate strangers (of different races and/or classes) being forced to work together to survive the apocalypse as best they can, whereas Shaun is about a bunch of white people who already know each other choosing to band together to survive the apocalypse… which isn’t as interesting, in my book. Plus, the characters in Shaun only have the one gun to defend themselves with, whereas here they have a whole lock-up filled with shooters! And really, a zombie flick with machine guns and grenades is always going to be better than one without them. Fact.
* Seriously, that theme song is so awesome… I can’t get it out of my head, and I don’t care!