OG Tough Guys andDumb But Cute Would-Be Thugs Fight the Undead
Movie / Outrbrea / Underrated
Cockneys vs. Zombies offers a truly ridiculous premise: a group of young Cockney toughs are simply trying to rob a bank, no big deal, when, bam, here comes the zombie apocalypse. They fight off the walkers with some understandable difficulty – I mean, there are not the sharpest bulbs in the basket -- but eventually, they get the job done – or they survive at least -- and somehow end up at an old folks’ home that’s populated by aging Cockney toughs from two generations back… and damn, can those old folks kick ass. It’s only a matter of minutes before the oldsters – the literal OG’s – are taking charge and beating back the horde of the hungry dead.
There’s absolutely no reason this should be as funny, engaging, and even exciting as it is. But it is. There’s a mad exuberance about old folks blasting away at the shamblers while the hapless younger generation barely keeps up. Much of it has to do with the performances of some great tough-type character actors from long ago – Alan Ford (who you will recognize immediately as playing the Cockney Tough guy since the 1960’s about 200 times -- Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, etc.) and Honor Blackman (yes, the GoldfingerBond Girl and The Avengers‘ Mrs. Peel before there was a Mrs. Peel), not to mention Harry Treadawayas the only young’un with half a brain. Treadaway went on to distinguish himself as Dr. Frankenstein inPenny Dreadful, as Brady Hartsfield inMr. Mercedes, and most recently as Narek in Picard.
You might have skipped this as another one of the Stripper vs. Zombies or Bigfoot vs Zombies low-budget throwaways, but in fact, this is a surprisingly well-made and just plain fun addition to your zombie collection. Or another great surprise for the zomfan who’s missed it for years.
Of that distinguished trio, Anna is certainly the newest and least known. It’s also the most charming in its own quirky way. You’ve got this typical musical comedy small town, these cute high school kids with a tendency to burst into song… and then you’ve got flesh-eating corpses that won’t stay dead. The plot is achingly familiar: You’ve seen zoms like this plenty of times before; the kids have to get back to their high school to see if their friends and family have survived The Rising (spoiler alert: most haven’t or won’t) … but this time they’re happy to stop along the way for the occasional, increasingly bizarre song-and-dance number. Likethis one, with more than a touch of Shawn of the Dead from early on:
It shouldn’t work. At all. And yet… it does, at least for those among us who have a nearly equal love for the shamblers as we do the chorus line. It can be rented or purchased on Amazon, and if you go into it with no expectations, you just might find yourself unexpectedly delighted. (And the lead, the surprisingly British Ella Hunt, has gone on to do interesting work in the DickinsonTV series, the recent racism/horror movie called Master,the newest version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and even some truly remarkable music videos of her own on YouTube. Meanwhile, the director is working on a Lady Macbeth musical (!).
Try it. You just might like it. (Or if you have a musical/horror fan in range – sling it at them.)