|Cockneys vs. Zombies (2013)
(Release Date: September 3, 2013) - Scream Factory's first brand-new, non-Chiller acquisition, "Cockneys vs. Zombies" is loads of icky fun. In a desperate attempt to get the money needed to save their granddad's (Alan Ford) senior citizen's home from being torn down by developers, ne'er-do-well London brothers Terry (Rasmus Hardiker) and Andy (Harry Treadaway), with the help of cousin Katy (Michelle Ryan), decide to rob a bank. Their escape with hostages Emma (Georgia King) and Clive (Tony Gardner) either luckily or unfortunately coincides with a viral outbreak that has brought the dead back to life. They may be in immediate mortal danger, but at least the cops are no longer looking for them. There is no denying that "Cockneys vs. Zombies" would not exist without 2004's "Shaun of the Dead," Edgar Wright's tongue-in-cheek British comedy about an undead invasion that has spawned any number of cheeky copycats in the intervening years. Nevertheless, this is a pretty good one, solid in its production values which depict an apocalyptic vision of East London and very funny on occasion as the narrative keeps switching to the ornery elderly people's fight for survival back at the retirement center. A scene in which an old man with a walker very, very slowly tries to get away from a staggering zombieand still outpaces the ghoulis a highlight. The movie doesn't add up to a whole lot in the end and the characters are decidedly underdeveloped, but director Matthias Hoene gives the derivative tale a refreshing wit to go along with the flit pacing and imaginative gore.
There are few complaints here. Shot digitally, the 1080p transfer looks terrific. Although there are a few spare shots that have a dull, faded look to them, the majority of the film pops in high-definition with plenty of fine object detail. Colors were desaturated in post-production for an intentionally bleak look, but clarity is always on point and establishing shots, especially, provide an accurate, film-like dimensionality. The color scheme favors an overall gray tone, but primary colors, such as the waterside park of red cargo vessels, make welcome special appearances. Sound-wise, there are no two ways about itthe DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is top-notch, the punk-flavored rock music that opens and closes the film clear and full-bodied. The surround system gets a workout besides, with gunshots, yells, and the light thumping of the zombies' hands on glass as they try to break into the retirement home so immersive viewers will swear some of it is happening right beside them in their home theater.
Audio Commentary with director Matthias Hoene; Audio Commentary with screenwriter James Moran; Original Look Behind the Scenes (29 min., HD); Deleted Scenes (6 min., HD); Theatrical Trailer (2 min., HD)
With a hefty promotional push behind it, "Cockneys vs. Zombies" might have had what it takes to become a sleeper hit at the box office. Instead, its theatrical release was very small and audiences who are fans of horror-comedies will not want to pass up this film's Blu-ray release. Scream Factory's presentation is typically great and the special features, including a half-hour making-of featurette and two separate commentaries, render the package even more satisfying. Is "Cockneys vs. Zombies" a great movie? No, but it is a highly entertaining one. This Blu-ray is easily recommended.