In the East End of London, a botched bank job gets a helping hand from a zombie invasion – when the gang not only gets away with the spoils they nicked to save a care home from closure, but when young and old, and good and misguided, come together to battle for survival.
Sounds like just another British comedy horror piggybacking on the success of the likes of Shaun of the Dead, Severance and Attack the Block, doesn’t it? Well, while it is a passenger riding some well-worn coattails, Cockneys vs Zombies also brings much of its own making to the zom-com party.
Without its forerunners, it probably wouldn’t exist, but thanks to the scribesmanship of James Moran (Severance, forthcoming action thriller Tower Block and episodes of Doctor Who), it’s a whole lot smarter and funnier than you might expect. It wends its way through a predictably by-numbers plot – which sees zombies unearthed and unleashed, a bunch of misplaced antiheroes coming good, old folk in peril and kind-at-heart underdogs saving the day – to speed towards its unsurprising denouement with enough giraffes and really bleedin’ Robin Hood acting to keep us going.
And if you like your zombies old-fashioned, Cockneys vs Zombies harks back to the days when zombies were zombies – slow, stupid and dangerous in numbers – resulting in a proper funny chase sequence involving Richard Briers and a walking frame.
Alan Ford’s strong turn as the agreeably foul-mouthed granddad is the jewel in the crown of this Guy Ritchie-lampooning zombie apocalypse comedy, while Michelle Ryan gets to go back to her EastEnders roots – but with guns – and the downbeat London locations help to blend in a legitimately riotous dose of realism.
Cockneys vs Zombies stars Michelle Ryan, Georgia King, Harry Treadaway, Alan Ford, Honor Blackman and Richard Briers and is cinemas from Friday 31 August.
You can watch a trailer for Cockneys v Zombies here – but be warned, it contains strong language throughout