Cockneys vs Zombies (2012)

2014 #107
Matthias Hoene | 87 mins | TV | 2.35:1 | UK / English | 15

Cockneys vs ZombiesScreenwriter James Moran doesn’t like it when people compare Cockneys vs Zombies to Shaun of the Dead, which is unfortunate because the “British zombie comedy” subgenre doesn’t offer many alternatives. Despite following in eight-year-old footsteps, however, Cockneys vs Zombies does enough right to commend itself as much more than a belated wannabe.

A dual storyline follows a gang of young heart-of-gold wannabe-bank-robbers and a home full of OAPs as they try to fend off a zombie apocalypse. Silliness ensues, though it’s clearly made by genre fans who know their stuff — much like Shaun, then. It’s genuinely laugh-out-loud funny in places, buoyed by a quality cast that includes the likes of Honor Blackman and Richard Briers, the latter of whom stars in a genius “why has no one thought of this before?!” moment… that you’ve probably seen in a trailer or something. And if you haven’t, I’ve gone and included a picture.

On the horror side, there’s some pretty good practical and CGI effects, considering the budget it must’ve had. Some reviews take time out to criticise the film for this, which gets my goat — why do so many people seem to expect blockbuster-level effects from very-low-budget indie movies? Genius.And why is their imagination so stunted that they can’t accept them anyway?

Leaving morons aside, Cockneys vs Zombies transcends its trashy title to be a downright entertaining comedy-horror. Not as groundbreaking or cinematically literate as Shaun, but a silver medal shouldn’t be sniffed at.

4 out of 5

Tower Block (2012)

2014 #6
James Nunn & Ronnie Thompson | 90 mins | Blu-ray + download (HD)* | 2.35:1 | UK / English | 15

Tower BlockResidents of a condemned high-rise witness a gang-related murder, but don’t intervene and deny all to the police. Months later, a sniper begins to pick them off. Can they band together and survive?

Screenwriter James Moran (Severance, Torchwood, Doctor Who) seems to have hit a good idea for a single-location thriller, and there are neat sequences in the mix, but there’s not quite enough juice in the concept or characters to sustain a full 90 minutes.

By no means a bad effort, but a brisker pace — and, to be frank, more innovative reveal of the killer — could have paid dividends.

3 out of 5

In the interests of completing my ever-growing backlog, I decided to post ‘drabble reviews’ of some films. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a drabble is a complete piece of writing exactly 100 words long. You’ve just read one.

* To be precise: I started on a rental BD, which went screwy just over halfway through, so I finished it off via a download. ^