Toronto After Dark, Day 3: Cockneys vs. Zombies
How inherently funny do you find the idea of people swearing at hordes of the undead in a cockney accent? The answer to that question may well dictate your enjoyment of Cockneys vs. Zombies, a zom-com from director Matthias Hoene.
There are two sides to this overall likeable film, a sometimes frustrating mix of great and not-so-great elements. More often than not this disparity is split between the two mostly separate groups of characters: the not-particularly-interesting bank robbing kids, and the cockney-slinging care home octogenarians.
Unfortunately, a majority of the film focuses on the kids. There is nothing particularly wrong with them, per se, simply nothing much interesting happens with them. The scripting is decently funny, escalating to a couple tear-inducing moments involving a zombie baby and a metal plate.
The movie really shines when the spotlight is on the old folks. Between a low-speed zombie chase involving the lecherous Hamish (Richard Brier), a very sincere infection pact between Peggy and Ray (Honor Blackman and Alan Ford, both wonderful here), and a lot of cockney vulgarity towards the living-impaired, this is where things are at their best.
Still, even on this side, not everything works. In a lot of ways the film can’t decide what it wants to be, trying to be too many things at once. It wants to be a zombie thriller, a comedy, a badass action flick, and a stirring commentary on community. In doing so, nothing is quite what it should be. Near the end of the film we’re given a speech about the neighbourhood of the East End, and it simply feels manufactured as there have been no genuine emotions to that end to stir.
Shaun of the Dead has nothing to worry about, its reign as king of the zom-com is still alive and well. However, with a fairly clever script and generally likeable tone, Cockneys vs. Zombies is a fine addition to the sub-genre. 3 out of 5 stars.