It might be about as subtle as a boot in the Jacobs, but Cockneys vs Zombies is far more than its attention-grabbing title and probably the most entertaining British zombie film since Shaun of the Dead.
Brothers Andy (Harry Treadaway) and Terry (Rasmus Hardiker) and their ragtag gang are half way through robbing a bank to save their granddad Ray’s retirement home when a zombie apocalypse strikes London’s East End. Meanwhile, Ray (Alan Ford in full-on “Laaandan” mode) and his friends (including stalwarts Honor Blackman and Richard Briers) fight to keep the walking dead out of the home.
More often than not, films like this can be all title and no substance. While Cockneys vs Zombies can hardly be considered genre-defining it knows its strengths and plays to them. Writer James Moran isn’t afraid to have a laugh at the expense of East End clichés and stereotypes, be they Dudley Sutton’s ridiculously convoluted cockney rhyming slang, football hooligans (despite them being dead) or Lock, Stock… gangsterisms. Hell, even ex-EastEnders actress Michelle Ryan gets a major part.
Moran and director Matthias Hoene subtly subvert the perception of the elderly in our society as being more than people waiting to die, while also giving us one of the most amusing scenes of the year when a zimmer-framed Briers tries to outrun a zombie.
You’d have to be dead not to find this ‘zomedy’ funny.