31 Days of Reviews: Cockneys vs Zombies (2012)

Sealed by order of King Charles II. That’s the message displayed on a crypt, uncovered by construction workers attempting to build luxury apartments in the East End. Instead of luxury, the workers unearth a plague of the undead that quickly overtakes the city.

Unlike other films I’ve reviewed this year, Cockneys vs Zombies is definitely a zombie movie. When you add in the fact that it’s a British horror comedy, that seems like the makings for success in my book.

As an American viewer, it’s hard to deny that for a British romantic comedy with zombies, Shaun of the Dead is hard to beat. That’s probably the case for most viewers actually. Cockneys vs Zombies takes a page from that playbook to create a comedy that is similar, yet different enough at the same time. While I was definitely expecting more from this movie, there were loads of great scenes, and I had a good time watching it.

Cockneys vs Zombies begins by introducing us to two brothers in the East End, Andy and Terry (Harry Treadaway and Rasmus Hardiker). While they definitely have an antagonistic relationship at times, it’s clear that they both deeply care for their grandfather (Alan Ford), who is living in a home that will soon be demolished to make way for the new luxury apartments. In order to prevent their granddad from being shipped up north, they hatch a plan to rob a bank with their band of misfits, including their cousin Katy (Michelle Ryan), their hopeless friend Davey (Jack Doolan), and their unstable “boss” Mental Mickey (Ashley Doolan).

As fate would have it, the East End is overrun by zombies at the same time, leaving the gang to fend for themselves along with two hostages. Meanwhile, their grandfather, a WWII veteran, is holding down the fort with his elderly friends with the minimal weapons they have at hand. The movie follows the two brothers as they try to rescue their grandfather and escape the city unscathed.

One of the first things I noticed about this movie as a zombie movie is that it’s self aware. Every character knows that it’s zombies, and almost every character knows exactly what to do about it. I was in complete shock when Katy (Michelle Ryan) bluntly states that the creatures are zombies and they need to be shot in the head. It got even better when she immediately called out that a bitten character was going to turn, and they needed to take care of it. I suppose you can’t waste time having your characters discover how the creatures work when you’re trying to make a zombie comedy. It was a trip that I’m glad I took.

There are some moments in this movie that really stand out to me. I was really enthused by the story of the grandfather with his friends at the home. I looked forward to every time we’d see progress in their storyline. Of course, there are plenty of gags about the elderly being, well, elderly. My favorite scene centered around the fact that Hamish (Richard Briers) had slept through the incoming zombies. He needed to be brought into safety with his friends, and the scene is a prolonged chase between the shambling zombies and the elderly man with a walker.

Cockneys vs Zombies has some pretty decent gore moments as far as zombie films go. There’s plenty of blood and guts being eaten by zombies, and there is an equal amount of zombies getting shot with automatic weapons. One of the characters even becomes a zombie, and let me tell you, that was a good performance. The actor portrays a brutal and scary zombie that just won’t die. It’s a stand out, but I don’t want to spoil it.

Know going into it that this movie is a British comedy. I know some people in my life who don’t find British comedies entertaining, so if you’re one of those people, then you may want to avoid it. It has the usual slower pacing and dry delivery that makes British comedies some of my favorites.

Cockneys vs Zombies is available on Netflix streaming if you’re interested. I definitely recommend it. It’s a fun movie.

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