“In all fairness… they’re not really that big are they…”
When I very first heard about Cockneys Vs Zombies I did just laugh it off as some b-movie, but it has suddenly grown into some kind of cult film with rave reviews flying round dubbing it ‘the new Shaun of the Dead’. Big words to live up to in my eyes with Shaun of the Dead being not just one of the funniest films I have seen but also one of my favourites so I decided to give this a go. With all due respect this film is just a bit of film, the zombies come second to the humour and there is definitely no threat ever posed by the alarming numbers of zombies and for most of the characters (outside of the Macguire’s) group you don’t really feel too attached to them if they were to die.
Unfortunately for me my two favourite characters (who’s names I won’t mention for spoilers sake) that I saw had the most potential for comedy died about half way through but the film fought bravely on being led by relatively unknown actor Rasmus Hardiker who plays Terry. Terry is very much Jay from Inbetweeners put into a zombie situation and toned down on the toilet humour but still VERY funny. Some of his mannerisms reminded me of Mackenzie Crook and for me he led the film superbly but without a doubt the best character was the innocent and gaumless Davey Tuppence (Jack Doolan) who you might recognise from British sitcom The Green Green Grass or one of my favourite films Cemetery Junction. His one liners and cut away scenes make the first 45 minutes of this film really what it is and offers those Ed moments that Shaun of the Dead played so well on.
The story was full of cliches, if that is on purpose of not it kind of works but the only thing I didn’t get was how this zombie apocalypse rose so quickly, so quick in fact that it was minute rather minor and the next able to sweep through a street leaving it apocalyptic within seconds. Putting that aside I think its main problem with the story was that there was way too many characters and where the care home bunch were obviously meant for humour it seemed like there was too many of them on top of a crowded cast in the original group and this made it hard to follow.
Aside from the story the humour was great and very british, the best kind of comedy. Most of the characters had goals within the film and their roles played through and worked but there was (as I said above) simply too many characters for only a 90 minute film so this didn’t work for all of them. The lack of threat was disappointing as Shaun of the Dead mixed both horror and comedy so well this was more focused on the humour and so ended up having the classic comedy film curse. The last 20 minutes took itself too seriously and wasn’t funny, and because the zombies were never made a threat throughout the film it felt wooden and kind of predicted.
Overall the film is very funny and worth a watch but could have worked without the zombies and it was just about a bank robbery gone wrong. The same jokes could have played out and maybe even more action and threat could have been added. I kind of knew it was the kind of film that wasn’t going to kill off that many characters from the way it was set up and we waited far too long for the first proper death. The set-up is hilarious and the original characterisations are good but the balance of horror and comedy wasn’t there for me.