Cockneys Vs Zombies is a film which, pretty much, does what it says on the tin. It’s also one which I really wanted to see at the cinema, but, despite 20-odd screens at the Trafford Centre, my local Odeon said “their was no demand for the film”. I did point out that they should be supporting British movies but they were clearly more concerned about filling half their screens with bloody Skyfall.
Zombies have been underground in East End London for around 350 years, but when contractors stumble across the vault, getting offed in the process, zombies are released to roam the land and kill everyone they can. It’s a well-worn idea but there’s always scope for more such movies as long as you can find an engaging tack to hang it on.
We also have on view a great young cast that work well together. It’s a shame Michelle Ryan’s career didn’t take off in the US, but that keeps her for our films, including the superb Cashback. There’s also some of the cherished old guard of British TV and film who, given their age, are occupying the local nursing home, including the aforementioned Briers, plus Honor Blackman and Dudley Sutton.
Once it’s known that the undead are out and about, cousins Terry (Rasmus Hardiker) and Andy (Harry Treadaway) want to get grandad Ray (Alan Ford) out of his nursing home and away to safety, teaming up with Katy (Michelle Ryan) in the process. But there’s a bit more to it than that, because the original intention was to tool up and rob a bank. They still do that, encountering teller Emma (Georgia King) and obstinate manager Clive (Tony Gardner) in the process, but priorities take on a different focus once they realise what’s happened to their world.
This is a film which has been described as “Shaun of the Dead meets Lock Stock”, presumably because (a) it’s a comedy involving zombies, and (b) it features the wonderful Alan Ford, who narrated the latter film. It’s not as sharp and as consistently funny as ‘Shaun’, and doesn’t reach the dizzy heights of the masterpiece from Edgar Wright with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, but that was a very hard act to follow.
It also doesn’t really live up to the frenetic pace of the trailer, for example when a zombie is chasing after Hamish (Richard Briers) in the nursing home garden. That scene in the movie feels very drawn out by comparison, which is a shame. That’s not to say this isn’t a film that’s worthy of your time. There are many great comedic moments put into CVsZ, making it stand up well enough on its own as a comedy in its own right, and often with engaging direction, especially in the slo-mo shots that ape earlier films involving shooting, where the heroes overcome the baddies.
Presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the picture is very sharp with great use of the full widescreen frame. It also looks suitably grim for both the zombies and the East End of London alike.
The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, for which I got the 5.1 DTS version, and all the gunshots and zombie munching do the necessary with ease.
There isn’t much in the way of extras on here:
- Behind the scenes (23:40): Clips from the film, chat from the key cast and crew, plus work-in-progress footage. You know the works. This extra takes in the key locations on view including the bank robbery, the care home and the finale at the docks, as well as a look at the special effects.
There are seven segments, all individually chaptered over the near-24 minutes, so why as much effort couldn’t be put into chaptering the film is anyone’s guess.
- Zombie School (4:10): An amusing extra, suggesting how you can look like one, such as adopting a loose open jaw, unsteady legs and limp dangling arms, plus many more options to really make the part.
- Trailer: You know what a trailer does.
The menu features clips from the film set to a bit of the theme music and an animated backdrop. Sadly, we also get trailers before the main menu appears. I hate this. We are not in the age of rental video, studiocanal!
There’s also an epic fail in the form of there being no subtitles. Why?
Running time: 88 minutes
Cat no: OPTBD2079
Released: October 22nd 6th 2012
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Matthias Hoene
Producers: James Harris and Mark Lane
Screenplay: James Moran and Lucas Roche
Music: Jody Jenkins
Katy: Michelle Ryan
Terry Macguire: Rasmus Hardiker
Andy Macguire: Harry Treadaway
Ray Macguire: Alan Ford
Davey Tuppence: Jack Doolan
Mental Mickey: Ashley Bashy Thomas
Peggy: Honor Blackman
Hamish: Richard Briers
Eric: Dudley Sutton
Doreen: Georgina Hale
Shirley Macguire: Dannielle Brent
Daryl: Tony Selby
Clive: Tony Gardner
Emma: Georgia King
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.