Talk about beating a dead horse. In the wake of Shaun of the Dead, we’ve seen our fair share of imitators, from Lesbian Vampire Killers to The Last Lovecraft – i.e. films that pit goofy pals against the supernatural – and Cockneys vs. Zombies is determined to ignore all of them and parade around the screen bringing nothing new to the realms of the horror-comedy or zombie sub-genre.
This latest attempt at a zom-com is severely lacking the wit writer James Moran brought to his previous effort, Severance, and it oozes with stale humor that neither elicits laughs nor smiles. It’s weak sauce across the board and ultimately a disappointment. What it does have going for it is a wide-range of decent zombie FX gags, but from a review standpoint, I think that’s fairly vapid critique. These days there’s an abundance of great zombie FX gags. If you’re a fan of undead fare, however, I suppose the assortment of gunshot blasts, blows to the head and punting some of the zombies take in Cockneys vs. Zombies will please you to a degree.
Still, this movie is a mess, even if, amid the forced, silly banter, there is perhaps one half of a good idea for a film.
The frail half of the script concerns a pair of brothers (Harry Treadaway, Terry Macquire) who pull together a team to rob a bank. They intend to use the money they steal to help out their grandfather’s convalescent home (granddad is played by the perpetual scowler Alan Ford). The somewhat tolerable other half of the script that delivers the more amusing bits, meanwhile, concern granddad and his pals at the home.
A zombie outbreak occurs at a construction site and soon enough the brothers find their bank heist foiled as they’re forced to fight the undead to get to their granddad. The old man has his own troubles, however: The convalescent home is under attack, too, and the elderly are forced to defend themselves. This paves the way for a lot of “Oh, I wish that was better” and “They dropped the ball on that” moments. Zombies versus old folk – it should be gold, but nothing really connects.
That sentiment goes for the rest of the movie. There’s a lack of connection between the viewer and the characters. The set-up is too rushed and we care about no one. Thankfully, Cockneys vs. Zombies is a short ride so, if you do endure it, you can return to the horror-comedies of yesterday that know how to get it right.