out of Five
Running time: 88
Enjoyable, frequently hilarious zombie comedy (zomcom) with a witty script, strong comic performances and a perfectly pitched balance between gore and gags, though some of the action sequences are a little disappointing.
What's it all about?
Directed by Matthias Hoene, Cockneys vs Zombies stars Rasmus Hardiker and Harry Treadaway as Terry and Andy, two brothers who plan to save their cockney grandfather Ray's (Alan Ford) East London nursing home by robbing a bank, accompanied by their arse-kicking, lock-picking cousin Katy (Michelle Ryan) and dopey mate Davey (Jack Doolan), with gun-toting local psycho Mental Mickey (Ashley Thomas) bullying his way into tagging along. However, their plans hit an unexpected snag in the shape of a zombie apocalypse and they're soon defending themselves against hordes of the undead.
Meanwhile, back at the nursing home, when Ray and his pensioner mates (including the likes of Richard Briers, Honor Blackman, Dudley Sutton and Georgina Hale) get attacked by zombies, they arm themselves to the (false) teeth and start dishing out zombie beatdowns. And when Terry and Andy finally get out of their situation at the bank, they rush to the nursing home to try and rescue their grandad and his friends before it's too late.
Hardiker and Treadaway make an appealing double act and there's strong support from a talented comic cast that includes Doolan, Ford (effing and blinding like his life depended on it), Sutton and Georgia King as Emma, a zombie-savvy hostage the gang pick up in the bank. Similarly, Michelle Ryan (a famous EastEnder if not an actual cockney) delivers perhaps her best big screen performance to date, clearly relishing the opportunity to kick industrial quantities of arse and indulge in some quality swears.
James Moran's witty script is consistently funny, packing the film with quotable lines, amusing zombie movie in-jokes and some hilarious visual gags (the Zimmer frame scene alone is worth the price of admission) as well as some enjoyable cockney rhyming slang-based word play, as the pensioners try to figure out the rhyming slang for zombie. Crucially, the film also strikes exactly the right balance between gags and gore, while still delivering plenty of both.
The only real problem with the film is that some of the action set-pieces are occasionally frustrating due to choppy editing and poor blocking, with the result that a couple of scenes (a zombie attack in the alley by the retirement home door, for example) feel like wasted opportunities. There's also the odd moment where it feels like actual effects shots are missing, such as a cut to Emma having just killed a zombie, which seems like a moment the audience were originally intended to see.
Cockneys vs Zombies handsomely delivers on its promise of cockneys vs zombies, thanks to a witty script, strong comic performances and the requisite balance of gore and gags. Recommended.