Cockneys vs. Zombies: Film Review
Seattle International Film Festival
Friday, Aug. 2 (Shout! Factory)
Harry Treadaway, Rasmus Hardiker, Michelle Ryan, Ashley Thomas, Jack Doolan, Alan Ford, Honor Blackman, Richard Briers, Dudley Sutton
Zombies meet East End semi-toughs in a genre mishmash from director Matthias Hoene.
SEATTLE — A send-up of send-ups, Matthias Hoene's Cockneys vs. Zombies draws on Anglo genre fare from Shaun of the Dead to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as it follows some would-be Robin Hoods whose heist is interrupted by the living dead. The result tastes like two-day-old fish & chips, but will please some horror fans who haven't tired of monsters-plus-x novelty hybrids.
Harry Treadaway and Rasmus Hardiker star as brothers who've put together a bank-robbing crew to help their ornery-cuss granddad Ray (Alan Ford), whose old-folks' home is threatened by greedy developers. Just as their botched heist is about to land them in jail, though, the apocalypse intervenes: Zombies unearthed by those very developers lay waste to the police force, sending the thieves and a couple of hostages on a survival trek through the East End.
Meanwhile, Ray and some spunky old-timers (played by vets including Honor Blackman and Richard Briers) endure a Night of the Living Dead siege at the retirement home, gathering survivors together and prompting the film's most likely-to-score bit of comedy: As a retiree on a walker tries to escape zombies (these are the slow-walking variety), Hoene cuts back and forth from overheated montage of close-ups to a static long shot, whose snail's-pace action is unadorned by music.
The gore quotient is high enough to please Fangoria subscribers, but serves action whose beats are too predictable to get the blood pumping. Familiar standoffs and make-a-run-for-it sequences build to one of the dumbest climactic self-sacrifice scenes in zombie-flick history, which in turn morphs into a still dumber escape.
Production Company: The Tea Shop & Film Company
Cast: Harry Treadaway, Rasmus Hardiker, Michelle Ryan, Ashley Thomas, Jack Doolan, Alan Ford, Honor Blackman, Richard Briers, Dudley Sutton
Director: Matthias Hoene
Screenwriter: James Moran
Producers: James Harris, Mark Lane
Executive producers: Simon Crowe, Matthew Joynes, Deepak Nayar, Jenny Borgars, Will Clarke, Michael Henry, Chris Hunt, Anand Tewari, Joe Maccarthy
Director of photography: Daniel Bronks
Production designer: Matthew Button
Music: Jody Jenkins
Costume designer: Matthew Price
Editor: John Palmer
No rating, 88 minutes