With a name like Cockneys vs. Zombies, you can pretty much guess what you're in for while watching the latest UK zombie import from director Matthias Hoene. Featuring a handful of recognizable British actors (Alan Ford FTW!), Cockneys vs. Zombies really doesn't offer much ingenuity in the zombie subgenre, but it's a rather enjoyable movie if you're looking for foul-mouthed, gun-toting octogenarians battling hordes of the undead with a bit of a caper twist thrown in for good measure.
Cockneys vs. Zombies follows gangster brothers Andy (Harry Treadaway) and Terry (Rasmus Hardiker) who are planning a heist in order to stop the retirement home their grandfather lives in from closing down. Of course, nothing goes as planned when a zombie outbreak occurs suddenly, forcing Andy and Terry to retreat and figure out a way to save their grandpa and his friends trapped inside their facility who are dealing with invading zombies in their own.
The reality these days is that the zombie subgenre is a bit played to death, so when you’re tackling a story focused on the undead, it takes a lot to win me over. Thankfully, the comedic elements added something to Cockneys vs. Zombies, as we’ve already seen British gangsters take on zombies last year (Gangsters, Guns & Zombies) so that wasn’t necessarily something I hadn’t seen before. What really ended up helping the zom-com was that the entire ensemble across the board rose above the material and approached their respective roles with a sort of reckless energy. It’s like they were thinking “what the hell, it’s old folks versus zombies- let’s just have some fun!” This energy kept things rolling through the film, despite the script suffering from some unevenness.
Writers James Moran and Lucas Roche actually go a different route in their zombie genesis story by creating a mythology revolving around a mysterious crypt from which they emerge and that was something I definitely appreciated. We get too many government conspiracy/plague-focused stories these days, so it was kind of cool (and very Romero-esque) to go with more of a throwback-type genesis story and gave Cockneys vs. Zombies a retro fell in that aspect.
Cockneys vs. Zombies also offers up a good amount of gore, with Hoene crafting several inventive deaths for both sides of the fight. There are some moments of CGI gore, but as a whole, nothing that necessarily took me out of the film (it’s an indie project- budget limitations are always an issue). The pacing could have used some work and some of the gags don’t quite deliver in the way I’m sure Hoene imagined, but the good far outweighs the bad, making it a film that all the indie and zombie fans out there can find something to enjoy about it.
At the end of the day Cockneys vs. Zombies may not be the most memorable genre movie you’ll see this year, but there’s just something really fun about seeing old folks recapturing their will to live in a place where families often ship off the elderly until they pass away. As a whole, Cockneys vs. Zombies is a pretty fun film if you can overlook its budget limitations. And if nothing else, Cockneys vs. Zombies is worth seeing just to experience iconic character actor Alan Ford taking on the undead in some pretty awesome ways.
Film Score: 3/5