Release Date(s)2013 (September 3, 2013)
Studio(s)Limelight/Molinare/Studio Canal (Scream Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: A
Cockneys vs. Zombies is another in a long line of “clever” zombie movies, a genre that seems to be wearing out its welcome. That’s not to say that this film doesn’t have some value to it. It does, but it feels like the last kid finishing the race thirty minutes after the race has ended.
I guess that sounds like a bit of a slam, but really, it’s just a critique of the genre in general and not necessarily the movie. The movie itself is pretty decent. The one thing I kept thinking about going into it was ‘I hope they don’t just try to ape Shaun of the Dead,’ which is my favorite film, and seeing a clone of it just won’t do anything for me. Thankfully, that line is crossed very little. It’s a different story altogether really, and with a different outcome. Really it’s a movie that can’t make up its mind what it’s all about, and seems to focus on way too many characters. Truthfully, there are only two groups of people to follow, but they’re lined with too many people. And it doesn’t help that the latter half of the film turns into gun-toting excess without much character behind it.
The story is simple: an old folks home is about to be closed down after being bought out by a big company for demolition. A group of people rob a bank in order to get the money to save the home, but everything is put on hold when a plague of zombies start mucking things up for them and for the old folks. So yeah, it’s very similar in structure to Shaun of the Dead in that we follow the two lead characters through some rough patches, other characters get involved, we experience their lives for a bit, and then the undead start making things even more difficult for them. Things go in a different direction with Cockneys vs. Zombies though when everything de-evolves into guns, carnage and mayhem. Shaun did the same, but still had more well-rounded characters that we cared actually about. Even the gore effects are subpar, particularly since a lot of them are CGI, which defeats the purpose if you ask me. In the overall scheme of things, it’s not a bad film, but it’s a bit on the mediocre side, but being that this was a small budget film, I’ll cut it a little slack. Most horror fans are bound to enjoy it anyways.
The film’s Blu-ray presentation features a strong image with fine object detail. It’s digitally-sourced, so you’ll find a lot of depth to the image. At times it can be a bit on the soft side. The CGI-laden shots in particular stick out to me the most in this regard. It’s not an ultra-sharp picture, but it gets the job done. Colors are grey by design, so you won’t find any richness in the film’s color palette. What is there is represented well. Blacks are nice and deep while the contrast and brightness are good. It’s a very good presentation that doesn’t stand out, but is more than adequate. The film’s audio track is definitely better by comparison. It’s an English 5.1 DTS-HD track, and it packs a lot of punch. Dialogue is perfectly clear, sound effects are crisp, there’s surround activity a-plenty (especially in the latter half of the film when there are zombies all around), the score kicks in remarkably well and LFE really pumps out the vibrations. It’s a very well-mixed track, and it sounds much better than I expected to. There are also subtitles in English for those who need them.
Extras include an audio commentary with director Matthias Hoene, another audio commentary with writer James Moran, eight Original Look Behind the Scenes segments with a Play All option (The Maguire Brothers, The Bank Robbery, The Care Home, At the Docks, Special Effects, The Filmmakers, Andy TV and Zombie School), nine deleted scenes with optional commentary by either Hoene or Moran, the film’s trailer and an insert with a Digital Copy code (a first for the Scream Factory line). All of it should be plenty informative.
Overall, I can’t say that I loved Cockneys vs. Zombies, but I enjoyed it for the most part. It did bore me a bit in areas, especially during any scenes without any character behind them, but it’s a better-than-most zombie movie that should satisfy fans of the genre, and Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release is definitely worth picking up if you are.
- Tim Salmons