Cockneys vs. Zombies (2013)
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While we may not have a “Shaun of the Dead” sequel, I like to think of “Cockneys vs. Zombies” as the equally funny, and engaging story that occurred during Shaun’s trek to save his girlfriend. This time around, a construction crew accidentally unearths a mysterious tomb filled with corpses and skulls. When the workers are killed by the still re-animated denizens of the tombs, a zombie plague begins to spread across the East Side of London.

Meanwhile, two young brothers Andy and Terry and their cousin Katy decide to rob a local bank to help save their grandfather’s senior citizen home, which is about to be demolished. As their inept operation goes awry, and their grandfather prepares to part ways with his best friends, the body count begins to grow, and the walking dead begin rising hungry for human flesh. “Cockneys vs. Zombies” is a film that embraces its comedy trappings as well as its horror tropes, never afraid to really revel in the fact that it’s a zombie movie through and through. Our band of heroes are miscreants, losers, and morons, but lo and behold they have a humanistic goal on their hands by way of keeping their grandfather from going homeless. When the dead begin rising, the mission changes in to rescuing their grandfather and his friends form the dead clutches.

Especially when many of the elderly can barely walk a few feet. “Cockneys vs. Zombies”  has a lot of fun with the zombie sub-genre, and derives genuine raucous laughter when it alleviates the tension of this situation through some great physical comedy, and twists on the zombie formula. The zombies depicted here are the classic shambling flesh eating kind, and the group find new ways of dispatching of them in an effort to rescue their only family. The chemistry between Luke Treadaway and Rasmus Hardiker is genuinely touching, as they spend most of their time looking out for one another, and gradually prove themselves over the course of the film. Through hysterical flashbacks we learn a lot about the characters, thus they become empathetic heroes we can root for. In spite of their flaws.

I love how though the characters are mainly idiots, they’re smart enough to know when a zombie is a zombie and don’t spend time bickering about the walking dead being human. The great Alan Ray is a scene stealer as Andy and Terry’s grandfather who spends most of his time trying to guide them in to a law abiding life, all the while ignoring his own life which involves leaving his friends, and possibly growing old and alone. “Cockneys vs. Zombies” has a lot of heart, but better it garners some great writing, fleshing out great characters and never feeling crowded with its various sub-plots. There are some very interesting detours along the way to save Andy and Terry’s grandfather, but it remains a great and hilarious zombie picture with plenty of in-jokes about zombie lore and the London culture. For horror fans tired of the watered down zombie cinema this year, “Cockneys vs. Zombies” is definitely one of the best horror movies of 2013.

 

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