What the hell is a cockney? I have friends all around the globe, including several in London, but I still had no idea what a cockney was. Apparently, cockney is a term used to describe people from East London. So, now you know, that Cockneys VS. Zombies is a film about a group of people from East London, fighting off a zombie outbreak. I first became aware of this film when it was announced as a film that would be shown at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Jeff was on location at the festival, along with TLD homie, Kirk Haviland. You can find all of the festival coverage here. Jeff’s thoughts on Cockneys VS Zombies, as well as the other films that played on that specific day of the festival can be found here. I have always had an interest in seeing this film, but not due to the title. Generally anything with “VS. Zombies” in the title is nearly unwatchable. But, positive word of mouth spread after some festival screenings, so I figured when my review copy of Scream Factory’s Blu-Ray release of the film arrived in my mailbox, that the time had come.
Cockneys VS. Zombies follows two brothers and their cousin, who recruit a psychopath with a storage facility filled with highly illegal weapons, and a friend with money problems, as they plan and execute a bank robbery, in order to save their grandfather’s retirement home from being torn down to make room for budding construction projects. Since this is clearly a horror/comedy, the robbery itself isn’t quite executed like it would have been by The Ex Presidents. Hilarity(mostly) ensues. When our group heads for the doors of the bank with their loot, they are greeted by the police, already waiting in the street for them. A quick exchange of gunfire sends them back inside of the bank to take some hostages to help with their escape. Once they reemerge, they find the streets in ruin, and littered with corpses, and the zombies that are feeding on them.
I hate that every zombie comedy since Shaun of the Dead has been compared to that movie. Every low budget, unfunny piece of crap that fancies itself a zombie comedy claims to be the new Shaun of the Dead. And, even when they don’t, much like the cliche “What Jaws did for…” blurb, some reviewer somewhere is bound to make the Shaun of the Dead comparison, if for nothing else, to try desperately to be quoted on the cover of the DVD. It’s annoying as shit to me, which is why I go out of my way to not write in blurbs. I don’t care if I’m quoted on the cover of a movie, so there’s no reason for me to torture you with bullshit in hopes of such an event. Cockneys VS. Zombies is most definitely not Shaun of the Dead. That is not to say that it’s not an entertaining movie, though, because it is. It just lacks the cultural impact that Shaun of the Dead achieved with its sharp wit, and onslaught of pop culture references. Cockneys VS. Zombies is more of a straight forward zombie comedy, rather than a satirical examination of the world’s obsession with all things zombie related.
The only gripe I really have is the nonstop CGI blood and gore. I guess I should have expected it, because going through the trouble of creating all practical effects for a zombie in today’s climate is considered fringe filmmaking. Computers are here to stay, and we’re going to have to get used to the fact that the majority of films like these are going to contain a lot of computer generated effects. For the type of film that it is, though, it doesn’t really hurt the overall experience. Most people probably won’t even notice, or at least care about it. But if you roll your eyes at CGI headshots like I do, you’re going to notice it. Other than that one complaint, I had fun with this movie. It’s certainly not for everyone. Those of you that lack appreciation for dry British humor might not “get it”, if that makes any sense. This is a very British movie, so if that type of thing usually bothers you, for whatever reason, you may have a harder time finding enjoyment than myself and others. I would still recommend that group to give it a shot, though. A group of geriatrics running around in wheelchairs and walkers, blasting the heads off of the living dead, is funny regardless of which side of the pond you happen to reside.
You’ll notice that this is a Scream Factory title, and it isn’t a cult classic being released onto Blu-Ray for the first time. This wasn’t the first new release movie under the Scream Factory banner. Right before the Scream Factory label launched, Shout Factory released Steve Niles’ Remains, which definitely would have been released as a Scream title, had it been released just a few short months later. Other than that they also released another straight-to-Chiller TV film entitled Dead Souls. That is a discussion for another day, but allow me to save you twenty bucks, and tell you that, even if you’re a hardcore Scream Factory collector, It’s safe for you to skip that one. Thankfully, Cockneys VS Zombies was an enjoyable movie. Otherwise I’d have little hope for future brand new release titles. I will still tread with caution. Don’t get me wrong, almost every cult classic release from Scream Factory are contenders for Blu-Ray releases of the year. But they have yet to establish that same great track record with newer movies. Here’s hoping the trend continues upwards.
Being a newer movie, there are not a lot of extras that they were able to squeeze onto the disc. There are two different commentaries, a few deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette as well as the theatrical trailer. While I say there’s not a lot, that’s certainly more than some studios put on their new release discs. I just recently sat down to watch The Lords Of Salem on Blu-Ray, which was one of my favorite movies of the year, and the only extra on the disc was the commentary, not even a trailer. So, even when these Scream Factory titles are a little on the light side for extras, they still find ways to take care of those of us that want a little more fun with the movie after the credits roll.
Cockneys VS Zombies will be available on DVD & Blu-Ray on September 3rd from Shout!/Scream Factory. You can pre-order the disc here.