Cockneys vs Zombies film review

Released in cinemas today, this British zom-com starring Michelle Ryan does exactly what it says on the tin - and very entertainingly too, says Kim Francis

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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.

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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.

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You can watch a trailer for Cockneys v Zombies here – but be warned, it contains strong language throughout