Often in low budget or waning film franchise the mash-up is used to try to expand the potential viewer base. This is especially true of the horror genre. In the past we have been subjected to any number of low budget titles like Crocosaurus Vs Megashark and Zombies Vs Strippers. More high profile fare has included entries in both the Alien and Friday the 13th franchises. A mash-up tends to be a sign that there is a lack of inspiration to move a project forward or that money is a constraint for the film makers. Into the fray comes the 2012 film that brings together everyone’s favourite undead, Zombies with the Pride of the East end in the movie Cockneys Vs Zombies.
On a building site in the east end of London two workers uncover a vault that had been sealed since 1666. Inside are the bones of dozens of people. They start searching the vault looking for anything they can steal. Suddenly a skeleton rises and attacks the workers, biting them on the face and neck.
Meanwhile we are introduced to the main protagonists. There are the two bruvvers, Terry (Rasmus Hardiker) and Andy (Harry Treadaway) who we initially see checking out a van for ‘The Job’. Almost immediately one of them is declaring himself as a geezer thus confirming himself as Cockney. The fact that he is still alive provides a clue that he is not a zombie. On the way to the job they pick up the rest of the team, Their cousin Katy (Michelle Ryan) who can unlock anything, Davey Tuppence (James Doolan) their dimwitted mate with a bit of inside knowledge of the bank and Mental Mickey (Ashley Bashy Thomas), so-called due to a large steel plate inserted into his skull during the Iraq war and the fact that he is a scary bloke who likes to head but people. The team, assembled and suitably tooled up, head to the bank.
Across town the boys’ grandfather Ray (Alan Ford) lives in a sheltered housing complex. The complex is under threat of closure from property developers who are changing the face of the whole area. The complex is a lively place with everyone getting along with a few larger than life characters (Richard Briers and Honor Blackman) keeping the place lively. They even have sing songs beside the piano. Both sets of characters soon encounter the Zombie invasion. The old folk are stuck in the sheltered housing with only kitchen utensils for protection and the gang have to try to get across town to free the pensioners.
This could have been a complete mess. Fortunately the film was in good hands. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is a good deal of black humour all the way through the movie. It doesn’t shy away from comparisons to other zombie films, Shaun of the Dead is the obvious one. There are a couple of nice touches where they realise that they are dealing with zombies. Instead of being freaked out by the appearance of the undead it’s almost like there is a world-weary acceptance that zombies have appeared. When they discuss how to kill them one of the characters points out that destroying the brain works. She looks surprised when the others don’t know this based on the fact that Zombie references are all over the media these days. Add in the slowest chase sequence ever involving a zimmer and a zombie and you get the level that this is working on.
The film moves along at a brisk pace that never out stays its welcome. The cast are all good and obviously had a good time making it. It’s good to see even minor roles getting a fleshed out (apologies for that!) part. You feel like you get to know a bit about each of them which is not the case in the majority of films.
The Zombies look great. The effects and the make up give them a realistic look and feel. I noted that there was a zombie movement co-ordinator as well as an assistant zombie movement co-ordinator. There was a good deal of imagination in devising the ways to kill the zombies. Instead of the usual bullet to the head a variety of interesting methods are used to keep you entertained. Some laugh out loud funny moments to be had.
A special mention is due for the closing titles music. It’s a pretty funny Chas and Dave style song about battling the undead. A nice final touch.
Overall a good way to spend ninety minutes of your day. recommended.