Cockney’s vs. Zombies


When London becomes overrun by zombies a group of bank robbers are stuck amidst the carnage and must survive by banding together with the residents of an old folks home.

I feel ripped off after watching Cockneys vs. Zombies, not because it was a bad movie mind you, but because I thought I was going to be watching a documentary on my undead British cousins. Of course it seems I would have been disappointed regardless considering that I had no idea that Cockney had a meaning that pertained to one specific area of England. I kind of assumed it meant “cocksure” or “someone with swagger to them,” just, you know, in an English way. I had no idea that it referred to people in the London East End specifically. That’s the problem with slang, it varies too much from place to place, I lived in Missouri for years before I figured out what to get when someone wanted a “pop,” it’s soda in case you were wondering. They also have the annoying habit of saying “warsh” instead of wash, but that one was a little easier to figure out. I’ve learned enough English slang to get by on, some of it I’ve even become quite fond of (pissed works so much better as a term for being drunk than being angry), but cockney I hadn’t yet heard. See, movies can teach a lot things, even zombie movies. Wait, so if cocksure and cockney are two different things that means that cocksure cockney actually works as a phrase, or better yet, a sports team. Why has no one yet named their team The Cocksure Cockneys? I’m copyrighting that phrase as soon as I get done with this.

Our East End film begins with a construction crew unearthing a Roman burial site, in particular a tomb that was sealed by Kind Charles II in 1666. As a couple of construction workers explore the unsealed area, skeletal corpses reanimate and slaughter the pair. We then switch over to brothers Terry and Andy who are preparing to rob a bank to save their grandfather Ray’s retirement home from being torn down by the construction company that just opened up a three hundred year old tomb. While the pair visit their dear old granddad, a grisly scene is discovered at the construction site, bits and pieces of flesh lay strewn all over the ground and a few sickly workers shamble their way over to the very same retirement home Terry and Andy are trying to save. The brothers pick up their crew including Mental Mikey (a slightly psychotic man with a metal place in his head), the near completely oblivious but big hearted Davey, and their cousin Katy, before making their way over to the intended target for their heist. Unfortunately they aren’t very good at thievery on this scale and the would be bank robbers exit the bank to find the police waiting for them, forcing the group to retreat back inside. After some deliberation the gang decide they might as well face the cops head on, so they grab a couple of hostages and exit the bank with guns at the ready. They expect what might be their final shootout but instead of a hail of bullets they find only devastation and walking corpses. Meanwhile at the retirement home, chaos ensues as zombies begin to turn both residents and staff toward the undead side of things and the few survivors hole up with what few weapons they can find. As the walking dead begin to multiply all across London, both bank robber and retiree will have to fight for their survival or become the walking dead themselves.


{Old and young coming together, it’s all very touching}

My misunderstanding of the word “cockneys” aside, I loved this movie. It was an extremely hilarious flick without venturing into Scary Movie silliness. I must have laughed as much as I gasped throughout the whole viewing. Cockneys vs. Zombies kept going back and forth between laughable moments and horrifying scenes which made for an interesting viewing experience. Some parts of the film even combined the two to make you laugh while at the same time slightly cringe, like when Mental Mikey decided to punt a zombified baby at a billboard, a punt that landed the baby right on a painted target that had written above it “target child abuse.” That was a great example of the humor present, a humor that was very well written and made for some hysterical moments. I think one of my favorite scenes was when the bank robbers came out to see two groups of opposing rugby fans, now all zombies of course, and instead of going for the tasty morsels that just presented themselves go at each other instead, to which one of the bank robbers remarks “Even as zombies they can’t get along.” Even if that was my absolute favorite scene, I think the machine gun attached to one of the retiree’s wheelchairs was a close second. Or maybe it’s when a zombie goes to bite one of the retirees on the leg to which the zombie hears “Wrong leg,” and realizes it has bitten a prosthetic. There were just so many humorous moments that it’s hard to pick which ones I loved more. Each one was spaced out between the more horrific moments to keep you on your toes though, so even if you might be laughing one moment, you’d quickly stop at the next when you saw the gruesome things happening on screen. It gave the film an odd balance that made watching it so much more enjoyable and entrenching. The fact that they never went over the top with it or made it lame helped to cement this one as a favorite of mine. I have to applaud how well written the humor was.


{There is also this very tense chase scene, well, tense in that neither one can move at more than a snail’s pace}

The other thing I have to applaud, in writing and in acting choices, are the characters. They helped to draw you further into the story by forcing you to care about them and their survival, even the less than agreeable ones. Take the aforementioned Mental Mickey, the man has some serious anger issues and is borderline psychotic, doing whatever he feels like whenever he feels like doing it. His introduction is forcing Terry and Andy to stop their car so he can threaten them about the upcoming robbery, but he ends up becoming likable regardless as the film progresses. Part of it was his lack of caring what others thought about it, part of it was his outlook on the situation, and part of it was his love for his shotgun Lucy. Yes, he names his shotgun. I’ve heard of people naming their cars, hell, I’ve named all of mine (The Battle Axe, Behemoth, Piece of Shit), but I’ve never heard of people naming their guns. I mean guys also name their…well, a gentleman doesn’t discuss such things. Beyond Mental Mickey though, all the characters are extremely likable and well written, especially the residents of the old folks’ home. There’s Ray, Terry and Andy’s stubborn granddad who was as much of a smartass as he was a hardass, the always horny Bernie who was constantly trying to bone the younger folks, the gibberish speaking Amish who is somehow able to connect Abercrombie and Fitch to zombies via his Abercrombie Zombie speech, as well as a few others that were almost more spirited than their younger counterparts. All of the characters were a riot to watch and their banter among each other was as hilarious as the rest of the film. I never thought I could enjoy someone getting chewed out as much as I enjoyed watching Ray verbally destroy anyone that got on his bad side. The dialogue was yet another well written aspect to Cockneys vs. Zombies, one I think added to how much I enjoyed the overall movie.


{Ray is not the man you want to fuck with}

If I had one complaint it comes in the effects department, and it’s not that all the effects are bad, just that the film bounces around between some great effects and some not so great effects. In some instances I could understand it, like with the skeletal remains that first attack the construction workers in the beginning. They look absolutely fantastic and very realistic, as if they really had been there for over three hundred years, but their movements are terrible, very erratic and jumpy, a clear case of bad puppetry, but maybe after designing them so well they couldn’t find any good puppeteers. Personally I wouldn’t see the use in putting so much work into a puppet and then having it jerked around like an Ed Wood spacecraft, but that’s me. Another less excusable scene had a woman’s lips being ripped off her face by a zombie. It looked sickening and was even kind of horrifying, but after the lips have been ripped off, the effect goes from great to lame when the prosthetic sticks out so far it makes the woman’s face seem horribly out of proportion. It ruined the whole effect to be so completely shocked one second only to groan the next. Then there’s the damn zombie eyes, why they choose to use deep blue contacts is beyond me. The zombie make up itself was great, very detailed in how each one looked as far as varying degrees of being beaten the hell up, but the blue eyes made them seem like they’d overdosed on Dune’s spice. Of course with everything bad they did (and I didn’t even go into detail on the cheap plastic limbs scattered about or the unnecessary use of CGI blood which pisses me off every fucking time) there is one scene in particular that almost makes up for every single bad effect, a scene I can’t in good conscious give away but which I will say involves a severed zombie jaw and a shotgun, I’ll stop there.


{That is one hell of a kiss}

If I were you, I’d check this one out ASAP. If you’ve got Netflix streaming you can find it there for free right now. I can almost guarantee you you’ll love it, even if you are a bit sick of humorous zombie films at this point.


The Undead Review


Directed By: Matthias Hoene (Beyond the Rave, Warrior’s Gate)

Starring: Rasmus Hardiker (Your Highness, I Want Candy), Harry Treadaway (Fish Tank, City of Ember), Michelle Ryan (I Want Candy, The Man Inside), and Alan Ford (Strippers vs. Werewolves, Snatch)

Written By: Matthias Hoene, James Moran (Severance, Cheap Rate Gravity), and Lucas Roche

Released By: Kintop, Limelight, Molinare, Tea Shop & Film Company, and StudioCanal

Release Type: Theatrical Release

Release Year: 2012

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Rotting Heads: 4 Heads Out of 5

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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