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Cockneys Vs Zombies (Blu-ray Review)

Cockneys-Vs-ZombiesI’m not going to lie, the zombie craze and obsession we live in today makes me happy.  Yes, we’re flooded with tons of bad repetitive low budget productions, but there are plenty of good zombie movies that have entered the vault.  The zombie film can take many shapes and forms.  One that works particularly well is the zombie comedy.  Up with the likes of Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, comes the very competent, funny and gory Cockneys Vs Zombies.  This one is an import from England and only had a short limited run here in the states earlier this month.  Don’t be fooled by the title (its reminiscent of straight to video dreck), I assure you, this one is quality.  You’re not getting a SyFy movie or something shot in a 20 year old’s parents’ backyard.  This is one I’m hoping people have the courage to check out, because it is quite funny and has some nice gore effects.

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Film 

During construction on what appears to be a new high rise apartment complex on the east end of London, an old tomb is discovered.  Two workers enter to find nothing but skeletal remains.  Some of those remains come to life and bite the workers beginning the spread of the zombie curse.  Meanwhile, across town, two brothers are scheming a bank robbery to help save their grandfather’s retirement home which is to be the subject of this makeover the city is going through.  The robbery turns up a bust and the brothers and their crew are holed up inside in a standoff.  But no sooner than a moment passes and the cops are gone, leaving only the remains of a zombie apocalypse.

Cockneys Vs Zombies is a rock solid Zom Com from start to finish.  Some of the comedy may be a little too native to its homeland (not knocking it points for that, it is called Cockneys Vs Zombies after all), but for the most part it all works.  The cast only had 3 recognizable faces to me, but its one that gels quite nicely.  It’s a nice mix of senior citizens with young people in their 20s.  Alan Ford gives us what we normally expect from him.  The real kicker is getting to watch an Honor Blackman talking smack to zombies and firing off machine guns like a pro.  It should never be in doubt if the former Avenger/Bond Girl still has it.  The only other recognizable face was Michelle Ryan and she’s able to hold her own quite nicely. She plays a good smart soldier on the bank robbery team.  The character is very much an equal to the remainder of the team.

One thing I really enjoyed is that it features a great marriage of practical and CG effects.  Aside from just a few spots where it’s obvious, the CG actually fits in quite nicely and looks quite real.  This feels like a very low budget production, but its effects pay off better than a lot of high dollar ones.  A lot of these low budget zombie movies will crutch on a ton of computer work to be done later and it just all looks so fake.  The mix is almost so good you can’t tell.  The highlight being a gun being bit and having the zombie shot off him with a shotgun, yet retaining part of the face with the teeth still biting his arm.  Oh and yeah, plenty of heads are blown off in this one!

The story here is pretty short and simple.  By doing this, it’s able to move and focus more on character.  One key contributor to this is that world this movie takes place in knows what a zombie is and knows the rules.  No time wasted trying to figure it all out and whatnot.  I was also taken by surprise, even though it’s a comedy, at how not mean spirited the movie is.  It enjoys its characters and allows them to have their successes and see things through.

Cockneys Vs Zombies is funny and engaging zombie tale.  It’s got characters you can get behind and earned laughs.  The gore in the film is genuine and inventive.  It’s not happy with one effect and repeating it throughout.  While all zombie stories can tend to mish mash together, this one is able to hold its own and be memorable in its own right.  The walker scene is definitely an all-timer (stinks that they kind of spoil this one in the trailer, shame shame).  This film got a very small release here in the US, but hopefully people don’t think it’s this month’s “cheapie zombie movie”, because it’s far more than that.

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Video 

Cockneys Vs Zombies delivers an incredibly clear and stunning 1080p MPEG-4 picture.  Detail is insanely high.  All the blood, the dismemberments and flesh eating fun in the 2.35:1 frame is almost like looking through a window and being part of the action.  It’s a nice crisp, bold and sharp picture.  Facial blemishes and texture are at a high.  The character of Terry sports a dirt ‘stache and you can make it out plain as day.  Another impressive feat is the paint on the walls.  You can see brush strokes and design on even the plainest wall.  It’s unreal.  The colors in this film are nice and bold and give a good punch.  The blood that is spraying everywhere in the film is a nice, present and gorgeous red.  The opening and end credits animation is insanely clear. This is some marvelous picture quality.

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Audio 

Just like the video, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is kicking.  The soundtrack is almost like a zombie party being thrown in your living room.  It’s loud and booming, but never takes away from any dialogue being spoken.  There’s great fun had from speaker to speaker and a nice sense of depth and its surroundings.  We’re only in a few locations in the film, but the audio track does its best to make each a unique and distinct experience.  There is never a dull moment with this one.  Plenty of gushing and gunshots to keep you perked up through the runtime.

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Extras 

All the bonus features come courtesy of a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC picture and LPCM 2.0 audio (except the trailer is DTS-HD MA 5.1).  Scream Factory also supplies you with a digital copy of the film.

Commentary With Director Matthias Hoene – The director goes over working with his writer and crew.  Coming up with different zombie scenarios and working with the actors.

Commentary With Writer James Moran – Apparently they couldn’t get him together with the director so he gets his own commentary.  This is recorded on his laptop so the audio is of a little bit poorer quality.

Original Look Behind The Scenes

  • The Maguire Brothers (4:30) – The two actors playing the brothers and filmmakers discussing their roles and some of the production
  • The Bank Robbery (3:29) – Some candid video of shooting the bank scene interspersed with different actors discussing their characters
  • The Care Home (3:08) – Like the previous clip, but this time at the nursing home and featuring those actors discussing their characters
  • At The Docks (2:53) – An on set look at shooting the finale.
  • Special Effects (3:59) – A look into the craft of the effects of the film.
  • The Filmmakers (5:11) – The director, producer and writer discuss getting this off the ground and shooting it.
  • Andy TV (1:39) – The two actors playing the brothers screw around on set and ask zombies on dates.
  • Zombie School (4:23) – An instructional video for the extras of the film to learn to be zombies.  The highlight of all the bonus material. It’s a lot of fun.

Deleted Scenes (6:22) – Some extended and deleted sequences from the film.  It features some alternate looks at some scenes that actually prove worthwhile and quite interesting.  It also features optional commentary with either the Director or the Writer.

Trailer (2:22)

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Summary 

With a top of the line presentation and a nice slew of extras including 2 detailed commentaries, Cockneys Vs Zombies is an easy recommend.  Scream Factory isn’t built on releasing newer titles, but when they pick up something right up their alley like this, it’s a win for everyone.  The film itself is a solid dose of fun and zombie action.  Fear not if some of the British humor doesn’t land with you, plenty of other jokes and gory kills will tickle your fancy.  For every 10 crummy uber cheap zombie films that release throughout the year, there’s ones like this that keep the faith and enjoyment of this horror subgenre going.  This is a lower end production that plays like a much bigger one.  Zombie comedy fans, pick this one up!


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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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