Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cockneys vs. Zombies: Walking Dead on the East End

Finally, someone has made the EastEnders episode you always wanted to see.  The title pretty much tells you everything you need to know about Matthias Hoene’s Cockneys vs. Zombies (trailer here), which opens this Friday in New York.

The zombie apocalypse comes at a rather opportune time for the McGuire brothers.  Their plan to hold up a bank to save their crotchety grandfather’s old folks home has deteriorated into a hostage crisis.  Against her better judgment, their cousin Katy came along to keep them out of trouble.  Unfortunately, there is no way to compensate for the wildly unstable Mental Mickey.  However, the zombie hordes quite obligingly clear out all the coppers dug-in outside.  Of course, this leads to other problems.  Now the McGuires and a handful of hostages and accomplices must race to the Bow Bells Care Home to save Grandpa and his cronies.

To briefly recap, you have your zombies and you have your cockneys scrambling about, shooting them in the head.  All clear?  C vs. Z is the sort of film that probably started with the high concept title, perhaps the result of a particularly inspiring pub crawl.  However, unlike other horror movie mash-ups, Hoene maintains a consistently high energy level and James Moran’s screenplay delivers the right mix of gory laughs and meathead action.

But wait there’s more, including Honor Blackman, a.k.a. Pussy Galore, blasting zombies back to the Stone Age.  In fact, it’s an unusually accomplished cast, including the late, great Richard Briers (recognizable from the Britcom The Good Life and Branagh’s Shakespearean films) with a machine gun strapped to his walker.  Lovejoy’s Dudley Sutton also gets in on the act, but Alan Ford (a Guy Ritchie regular) really steals the biscuit as ornery old Ray “Don’t Call Me Grandpa” McGuire.

In all fairness, Rasmus Hardiker and Harry Treadaway (the other Treadaway twin) are solid enough as the bickering McGuire brothers, but they are somewhat overshadowed by the colorful supporting cast and all the gleeful mayhem.  Yet, Michelle Ryan (a former EastEnders cast member) makes a considerably stronger impression, earning action props as sharp-shooting cousin Katy.

Somehow the C vs. Z team will probably find themselves sitting at home during the Oscar and BAFTA award ceremonies.  Nonetheless, those attracted to Hoene’s premise will not be disappointed by his execution.  Recommended for horror fans with a sense of humor, Cockneys vs. Zombies opens this Friday (8/2) in New York at the Cinema Village.