Cockneys Vs. Zombies (2 stars)

Cockneys Vs. Zombies

Mixes zombie gore with sly humour but fails to engage

Films that boast tell-all titles – think Snakes on a Plane, Hot Tub Time Machine – usually struggle to overcome their look-at-me high-concept. Not that the concept behind Matthias Hoene’s genre-comedy could exactly be described as high. Pitching East End geezers and a smattering of old codgers against a zombie plague, this is one horror film that has to work super-hard to go beyond its eponymous pitch.

For a while, it does. Harry Treadaway, Rasmus Hardiker and Michelle Ryan play a family of would-be bank robbers, looking to loot their local branch to help save their grandfather (Alan Ford) and his soon-to-be-closed retirement home. Meanwhile, a local building site excavates a tomb, unleashing the undead on London’s East End. Soon enough, our not-so-trusty robbers are fighting their way out of the bank and into a zombie nation.

Cutting between the warehouse where the robbers hole up and the OAP home, the script by James Moran mixes the requisite zombie gore with some sly humour. One scene sees Richard Briers (yes, he of The Good Life) trying to out-walk a zombie; while he hobbles on a zimmer frame, the creature shuffles even slower behind him. And let’s face it, watching Pussy Galore, aka Honor Blackman, blow these flesh-eaters away with an assortment of hardware has its pleasures…for a while.

The problem is, while Moran’s script is consistently inventive when it comes to showing us how to maim and kill zombies, there’s only so much you can watch without getting bored. The plot, which sees the group try and get to the OAP home, just isn’t strong enough to carry us through. It doesn’t help that, lacking the humour and emotion of Shaun of the Dead, you couldn’t care less about who lives and who dies.

Selected release from Fri 31 Aug.

Cockneys vs Zombies

  • 2 stars
  • 2012
  • UK
  • 1h 28min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Matthias Hoene
  • Written by: James Moran, Lucas Roche
  • Cast: Michelle Ryan, Georgia King, Honour Blackman
  • UK release: 31 August 2012

A family of Cockney bank robbers pull off a caper to help save their grandfather’s retirement home; meanwhile, the undead are on the streets of the East End. Despite some sly humour, the story isn’t strong enough to keep us interested.