VOD film review: Cockneys vs Zombies
James R | On 01, Sep 2016
Director: Matthias Hoene
Cast: Rasmus Hardiker, Michelle Ryan, Harry Treadaway, Alan Ford, Richard Briers, Honor Blackman
Watch Cockneys vs Zombies online in the UK: Netflix UK / TalkTalk TV / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
Prick up your donkeys, me old china plate, cos the brown bread are coming back to porridge knife – and they’re headed straight to Hackney. We ain’t taking the gypsy’s. It’s all Babe Ruth. But even Queens Park Ranger than that? This high-concept, low-brained pile of Albert Halls is proper Easter Bunny. You heard right: Cockneys vs Zombies? It’s well Robin Hood.
(No, we have no idea what we’re writing either.)
Terry (Hardiker) and his brother, Andy (Treadaway), are robbing the J Arthur Rank. With them are simple-minded Davey Tuppence (Jack Doolan) and violent Mental Mickey (Ashley “Bashy” Thomas) – who, as his namesake suggests, is completely Dot Cotton in the head. Why should we give a damn? Because these robbers are actually chicken and rice. It turns out they’re only half-inching to pay for their pot and pan’s pot and pan. He’s locked up in an old folks’ home and the council’s going to knock it to the penny-a-pound.
The undead going up against a load of Shawshank Redemptioners? That’s what makes Cockneys vs Zombies work – it’s not just the young Eastenders who get to leather boot them in the Uncle Ned. All of the gang have a go, from Albert Square’s ass-kicking Michelle Ryan (lemon tart casting if ever we saw it) to Lock Stock’s Alan Ford and Goldfinger’s Honor Blackman.
The resulting Barney Rubble gives director Matthias Hoene a lot of opportunity for witty moments. Red top buses, kitchen hatches – the locations all play a role, giving scope for a bucketload of Roy Hudd. There’s plenty of guts too. Of course, horror-comedy is a shamble unless it’s either Mariah Carey or Easter Bunny. But with Hoene hacking limbs off like a right bread and butter and James Moran (Severance) writing the script, you know you’re in for a belt buckle.
One inspired bit sees Richard Briers, clutching a zimmer frame, trying to outrun one of the feather pluckers. “Ohhh, it’s a zombie!” he cries, moving like a snail. It’s the slowest chase you’ll see this year, but blimey Charlie, it’s tense; hilarious, edge-of-your-seat nonsense.
In fact, the whole thing is mother’s pearly gate. From the Harry and Billy opening (a graveyard in a Stratford building site) to the gun-toting, Ruud Gullit-spraying finale, there are more giraffes than Hackney City Farm. A lot of them come from Alan’s foul-mouthed Bacardi Breezer, but the dustbin lids are alright too, with Treadaway’s teenage lead hard to dislike. Some of the cast even try a bit of the old Cockney Rhyming Slang: “Trafalgar Square, fox and hare, needle and stitch, Abercrombie and Fitch, Abercrombie… zombie!” says one. Then Pussy Galore walks in holding a shotgun.
It won’t win points for down the drains, and the ending doesn’t quite Kathy Burke, but Cockneys vs Zombies is messy, fast and a lot of Blue Nun. For horror fans, it’s just the Jiminee Cricket.
Cockneys vs Zombies is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.