Fantastic Fest: Cockneys vs Zombies Review

cockneys vs zombies
Zombies invade the East End of London!

I have to admit I was kind of excited about this movie. The trailer made me think Guy Ritchie and Edgar Right had birthed some kind of cinematic love child. It’s the first feature for director Matthias Hoene and the premise is zom-com gold. Two brothers, Andy (Harry Treadaway) and Terry (Rasmus Hardiker), hatch a terrible bank robbery plan in order to save their granddad’s nursing home, which is about to be bulldozed by some developers. While inside the bank, the East End of London (which is, of course, where they are) is overrun by zombies. So when they get back outside, instead of being greeted by the police, they are overrun by the undead. They make their getaway and decide they have to go save their granddad at the nursing home.

Alan Ford cockneys vs zombies
Alan Ford takes on the zombie horde

Ritchie and Wright’s influence is all over this movie to be sure. But the comedy beats and high energy of the trailer are somehow lost in the feature itself. Which isn’t to say it’s an outright failure. It has some excellent moments… my particular favorite is the Cockney retiree that has to explain his slang – for instance his reference to zombies as “trafalgas”. WTF? “Trafalga square, fox and hare, needle and stitch, abercrombie and fitch… abercrombie, zombie?” Oh, right. Duh.

I loved the casting of Alan Ford (well known to us Americans as Bricktop from Snatch) as the granddad and Michelle Ryan (Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead) as Andy and Terry’s cousin. The problem, for me, was that these characters just felt like shadows of what they could have been. There was almost no development at all and that made me not really care about them or feel like they were behaving in any kind of consistent way. For example, Katy (Michelle Ryan), is Andy and Terry’s badass locksmith cousin.

michelle ryan cockneys vs zombies
Michelle Ryan and Harry Treadaway
She gets almost no introduction, but we know she’s bad ass because of her wardrobe and makeup (heavy eyeliner, all black tough-girl chic), and we know she’s a locksmith because they say so. Same with their buddy Davey. Who is he? Why is he there? There’s no set up, those characters are just there out of convenience. So when Katy hot wires the car in a pinch, or shoots zombies with one automatic machine gun in each hand without suffering the effects of recoil on her biceps, the whole thing just falls flat. It’s supposed to be funny but it’s not, not really. There were a lot of missed opportunities in this film, which was surprising for me because James Moran (screenwriter) has written a lot of stuff I’ve liked that didn’t suffer from these flaws (Tower Block, Torchwood – Children of Earth: Day Three, Doctor Who The Fires of Pompeii, Severence). But there were some weird editing things too. It was too slow at the beginning and too fast near the end. There were some moments that could have been great but didn’t even get a chance to land. That being said, however, there were just as many that did, especially the bits with the old folks.So overall it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as great as it could have been. I give it three out of five nerdskulls. And I look forward to the next feature from Hoene.

Check out the trailer below…

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I grew up on Kung Fu theater movie weekends, a lot of Top Ramen Noodles, G.I. Joe's, Evil Knivels Stunt Cycle and Stretch Armstrong. My Movie reviews and Artist Interviews have been a regular around Follow me on Twitter @arainbolt. or email me