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Film / Cockneys vs. Zombies

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Eric: They're vampires! We need crucifixes, garlic, silver, holy water, and Christopher Lee!
Ray: No, you soppy tart, those things are fucking zombies!

Cockneys vs. Zombies is a zombie comedy in a similar vein as Shaun of the Dead. Directed by Matthias Hoene and written by James Moran and Lucas Roche.

Cockneys vs. Zombies follows brothers Andy and Terry living in the East End of London as they rob a bank to save the retirement home of their foul mouthed war veteran granddad (Alan Ford). Their robbery almost goes belly up with the arrival of the police, but when they open the door they find they’ve been rescued at the last second by the Zombie Apocalypse. Accompanying them throughout the story is the beautiful, innocent hostage Emma, feisty locksmith Katy and the completely insane psycho “Mental” Mickey who lives in a shipping container and has a metal plate in his head. The two brothers make it their mission to get to their granddad and rescue him and the surviving old timers from the zombie hordes before it’s too late.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Dad and Action Mom: In a flashback of Terry and Andy's childhood, we are treated to their parents, where the dad gives a short speech to them about the importance of family and doing what's right. Then they both pick up shotguns and leave, with audible police sirens outside and "Come on you fucking pigs!" from the mother. Also an example of Hippie Parents maybe, considering how they're dressed.
  • Action Girl: Katy is this from the beginning, and Emma gradually becomes more of one as the film progresses, when everything about her would make you expect her to become just a Damsel in Distress, even having her adorable "Your time has come, mister!" one liner.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 0, The zombie outbreak is successfully contained to East End London by the army and they're preparing a counterattack.
  • Amusing Injuries: Isn't this a necessity in zombie comedy?
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Katy looks over a garden fence and spots yet another zombie herd in the group's path:
    Katy: Fuck.
    Andy: What? What is it?
    Katy: Leprechauns, what'd you think?
  • Asshole Victim: Maybe he’s justified, but hostage Clive decides to start threatening everyone with the pump action shotgun rather than pay attention to the crowds of zombies outside, proclaiming that he’s in charge. Cue disemboweling a few seconds later.
    • Mickey gets infected, dies, turns, and is re-killed thanks to a grenade in his mouth. But does anyone feel sympathetic for the Ax-Crazy loon?
    • There's also the guy shutting down the old folks' home, who seems to enjoy it a little too much. He turns up at the end of the movie as a zombie; Ray and his grandchildren take great pleasure in gunning him down.
    • It's implied that the construction company executive is planning to steal the company payroll and run off with the lady bank manager, but he gets eaten at the work site instead.
  • Ax-Crazy: There's a reason that Mickey's nickname is "Mental".
  • Badass Family: The MacGuire family are this. Although in Andy and Terry's case, it takes a zombie apocalypse for them to get there, their grandfather Ray fought in WWII and from the flashback we see, he took on an entire Nazi MG nest on his own, and according to him he was underage and lied to get in, and won. Their parents are seen giving a heartwarming speech on the importance of family and looking out for each other before taking an implied Last Stand against the police, wielding shotguns. Their cousin Katy is an Only Sane Woman and the coolest and most level headed of the cast outside of Ray, is also a master locksmith and from what is seen, the best shot, offhandedly headshotting several zombies. Andy and Terry themselves start off being the letdowns of the family, but quickly adapt to the situation; Andy is almost Too Dumb to Live in courage, frequently helped out of trouble by Terry, and while they bicker, they are clearly devoted to looking out for each other and the family, their main reasoning for pulling a bank job is to get enough money to save their grandfather's retirement home, and their first instinct after the zombies hit is to get there to rescue him and his friends without even considering the danger of the zombies as anything more than an obstacle.
  • Bank Robbery: Andy and Terry decide to rob a bank to save their grandad's retirement home which goes wrong even before the outbreak of zombies.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Emma gets a bit of red on her, but despite the crying at one point and significant amounts of violence (including a grenade) her face never seems very messed up.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Though much of London’s population is surely either dead, turned or both, the main protagonists escape aboard a boat onto the Thames, and the British Army soon flies overhead with a substantial number of attack helicopters, signifying a counterattack.
  • Black Comedy: ...erm. There may or may not be a scene where Mickey kills a zombified woman pushing a pram and picks up the baby inside to rescue him, before it suddenly turns in his arms. What’s Mickey’s reaction? Put him down out of compassion? No. Drop kick him across the street into a “Prevent Child Cruelty” sign, decapitating him. It may well be one of the greatest moments in cinema history.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Since it’s the only way to rekill the receased, this is fairly common with more than one beautiful impact with a Remington 870 shotgun.
  • Britain Is Only London
  • Camera Abuse: Gore spatters the camera lens when Darryl beats a zombie's skull in with his prosthetic leg.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: Mickey dropkicks a zombie child straight into a “Targetting Cruelty against Children” sign.
  • The Cavalry: While discussing the future and wondering what’ll happen next, a fleet of Apache gunships pass overhead, no doubt to begin the Army’s response to the zombie rise.
  • Chainsaw Good: Actually, an alligator lopper, but it's got a chainsaw in it...
  • Chekhov's Gun: Two of them — Mickey's metal plate in the skull and the grenade he brings along to the robbery. The former means that once he turns, they can't just shoot him (since the plate protects the brain), and the latter is used to finish him off.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Katy's abilities as a locksmith don't seem immediately useful to the robbery, but prove vital in hotwiring vehicles later.
  • Circling Vultures: Well, one vulture anyway, which starts circling over the East End when the plague of zombies gets started.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Andy and Terry each note that this is basically the only reason they let Danny and Mickey join the heist, as Danny has "experience" of committing a robbery (in the sense that Danny tried to commit a crime, even if he was arrested in the process) and Mickey has access to guns (which they don't want to actually use).
  • Cluster F-Bomb: There are 133 utterances of "fuck" in the film.
  • Cool Car: The group hotwire a classic red London double decker bus to transport all the rescued old people.
  • Cool Guns: Nothing beats the Remington 870 shotgun. When Mickey tests it out on an approaching zombie it clearly does damage, especially with the brutal leg shot which resembles what would happen if you packed the inside of a tree trunk with high powered explosives.
  • Cool Old Guy: Granddad Ray is immediately demonstrated to be one, handing out verbal smackdown after verbal smackdown on anyone who pisses him off. A very brief flashback shows his experience in World War II, in which he breaches a German bunker and single-handedly takes out a whole Jerry platoon with either rifle or bayonet (and he was 15 at the time). His first response upon seeing the zombies is to slice one’s head off with a set of pincers, and he’s the source of some wonderful swearing.
    Ray: I know this place is closing down, but people are trying to eat their dinner. So listen, you yuppie twat, if you don't sling your hook note  by the time I count to five, I'm going to shove that clipboard so far up your aris that you'll have to stick your pen up your nose to write on it. One, two, three...
  • Crapsack World: A number of aerial shots show smoke rising from all across London, and the streets are teeming with the scavenging undead.
  • Damsel in Distress: Subverted with Emma, who skims the edge of becoming this but in the end becomes an effective zombie killer, with a couple of brilliantly adorable one liners. If anything, Granddad Ray is the damsel in distress since his rescue is the main objective for much of the film.
  • Daylight Horror: The whole film takes place in the middle of the day.
  • Dug Too Deep: A demolition crew unearths the zombie menace when their excavations uncover a centuries-old crypt.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Certainly feels like this trope is being invoked every time someone dares to say anything to Mickey that he might not like.
  • The Ditz: Andy has his moments; special mention goes to him wondering if apologizing to the cops for their attempted robbery would get them off the hook, and the fact that, when his gun won't fire, he frantically asks Katy how to "turn it on" (she undoes the safety catch for him).
  • Emergency Broadcast: The group use the van radio to try and figure out what's happening, to find an emergency BBC address about the viral outbreak, and that the Army is quarantining the area. For a comedy, it's frighteningly realistic. It doesn't even make mention of the nature of the outbreak, presumably since telling millions people they were being attacked by zombies wouldn't convince anyone who hasn't already seen them.
  • Eternal English: The crypt, sealed 1666 by King Charles II uses modern, rather than period English.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The zombies form factions and fight against themselves, leaving the heroes to proceed relatively unhindered.
    • Played for laughs, as the reason the zombies fight each other is because they were formerly supporters of rival football teams, whose hatred for each other even extends into undeath.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The film is indeed a zombie apocalypse scenario set in East London.
  • Eye Scream: A zombie that dares to intrude on the old folk's home gets an eye gouged out with a needle by an old lady for his troubles.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Several zombies go lurching right past a sleeping Hamish, probably because he's not moving.
  • Football Hooligans: Our group at one point witnesses a fight between two opposing groups of football hooligans... who have all become zombies. Apparently, devotion to their one soccer team and intense dislike of those who support rival teams overpowers the zombification process and they will still engage in hooliganism and soccer riots even as zombies.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: Mickey fought in the Middle East and suffered a head injury which is surmised to have caused him to become a criminal, due to brain-damage erasing his inhibitions about violence.
  • Girls with Guns: There's Katey and Emma, not to mention the old ladies. Special mention goes to the old woman who immediately knows how to assemble an AK-74. Anyone else suspicious about her past?
  • Gorn: Red is certainly a dominant colour in this film. Jaw ripped off, plenty of necks being torn open, a lower leg blown to pieces by a direct shotgun blast, zombie decapitated by having its head twisted round twice or by a giant set of pincers, and not to mention all the hundreds of bullet wounds and the results of a grenade going off in your mouth.
  • Gun Porn: The sheer number of weapons on display in Mickey's container is mind boggling.
  • How Is That Even Possible?: Although nobody seems confused that zombies exist, the sight of a zombie's disembodied jaws remaining clamped onto Mickey's arm even after Katy blew its skull to pieces with the combat shotgun leaves everybody flabbergasted.
    "Is that even actually possible...?"
  • I Call It "Vera": "Tracy" is Mickey's badass combat shotgun. "The Bitch" is a half-dozen hand grenades Terry taped together.
  • Idiot Ball: King Charles II, for locking up the zombies rather than, you know, destroying them.
    • To be fair, it was the 1600s, he probably ordered them locked up thinking the Zombies were possessed people, and tried everything else before deciding to lock them up in case the "possession" wore off, and as far as we saw there were only two zombies left by the time the seal is broken, but judging by the amount of skeletons we see, there might have been a lot more than anyone could deal with at the time.
    • Considering how the zombie Football Hooligans behaved, it's possible that all those skeletons were originally zombies, but ones who'd been members of opposing 17th-century factions in life. In which case, they may have ended up brainlessly beating and jabbing at one another inside the crypt until their flesh was so denuded that just two remained ambulatory.
  • It Can Think: The zombies retain a fair bit of intelligence, enough that the reanimated Mental Mickey reacts with almost terrified comprehension after having a primed grenade shoved in his mouth, and two groups of former rivaling football fans temporarily halting their flesh hungry rampage to clumsily beat the shit out of each other.
  • Ignored Vital News Reports: Sort of. Just before the fifteen minute mark, while the two brothers talk the radio is playing the news, which ominously describes hints of the outbreak beginning, but it's so vague and holds no details that'd make it seem out of the ordinary so Terry and Andy ignore it.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Andy runs two zombies through with the katana, nailing them to the wall, and piercing the head of another one on the other side of the wall by sheer accident.
  • Incongruously-Dressed Zombie: Two crowds of zombies in the colours of rival football teams stumble into each other’s paths on the street. And start fighting. The heroes use their distraction to sneak past.
    Can't believe this, even when they're zombies, they can't stand each other
  • Insane Troll Logic: Eric's convoluted version of rhyming slang, which doesn't rhyme.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Everyone stands around staring in disbelief and going "Is that even actually possible...?" when Mickey gets bitten, blows the biter's head apart with the shotgun, and is left with a pair of disembodied jaws locked onto his forearm.
  • Last Stand: Granddad does this with his Heroic Sacrifice to unchain the boat so it can escape. Then it turns out he’s one tough fucker, as he mows down the dozens of assailants with his assault rifle and survives.
  • Leave Him to Me!: The wheelchair-bound pensioner calls dibs on the chance to put down a wheelchair-bound zombie.
  • London Gangster: Darryl used to be one, and still talks about how he could have people killed when they get on his nerves, even though all his former "business associates" are long dead.
  • Low-Speed Chase: An old man with a Zimmer frame is able to outpace a zombie.
  • Made of Plasticine: Whether or not a skeleton (yes, a skeleton) has the strength to tear off your lower jaw with one bite has yet to be investigated by National Geographic. The trademark disembowelling that comes with a zombie film is also a good example. It’s also subverted when Mickey gets bitten; there’s no chunks being torn out, instead the zombie’s just dangling off his arm like a fish on a hook and Mickey reacts very calmly, though it may be that he’s just too insane to feel pain. Considering previous scenes, this may be the case.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Averted deliciously. The first reaction upon seeing the undead is “Zombies” completely deadpan. Also, in response to the claim that they’re dealing with vampires: “No, you soppy tart, those things are fucking zombies!”
  • Number of the Beast: The crypt was sealed in AD. 1666 by order of King Charles II.
  • Off with His Head!: Emma's first brutal killing is when she repeatedly slams a great big metal spade against the back of a zombie on the floor, eventually slicing right through.
    • Then there's also Mickey's brilliant attempt at breaking a zombie's neck, where it just stands there alive and well with its head twisted backwards. Mickey keeps twisting the head like a cork until it tears off completely, to the horror of Clive and Emma.
  • One-Hit Kill: Headshot = Kill. Though the bullet has to hit the brain.
  • Organ Dodge: One of the pensioners gets bitten on the ankle, but unconcernedly takes off the bitten prosthetic and beats the creature's head in with it.
    Wrong leg, silly bollocks.
  • Oh, Crap!: Zombified Mickey has this expression when the protagonists stick a grenade in his mouth after trying to kill him. (And failing due to the metal plate in his skull.)
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The first two zombies are buried in a 17th Century tomb and reduced to skeletons which implies magic. Though it could be that they’re run of the mill zombies that simply stop degrading over time.
  • Pair the Spares: Since Granddad and Peggy, Terry and Emma are usually considered couples, Andy will sometimes be paired with Doreen or Katy.
  • Perpetual-Motion Monster: Even after over 300 years of being locked away underground and left to rot, the infected from the opening scene's crypt are still very much alive.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Averted. The headshots spray blood of at least five shades of red all over the place.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Lampshaded when Emma immediately tells them "Everyone knows" to shoot them in the head.
  • Running Gag: Terry being unable to start the van, which revs up just fine for Andy.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The zombies are first encountered in a sealed up, buried crypt.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Granddad Already Is Shooting You: The final scene.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Begins with horror, then the moment the main characters are introduced it’s comedy but with occasional dashes or fright.
  • Soul Fragment: Even as zombies, fans of rivaling soccer teams can't stand each other and will still attack rival supporters with their fists, pipes, and letter openers.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The epic dramatic rock music playing as an old man flees from the zombies...very slowly.
  • Spit Take: Davey starts drinking a bottled water as the others speculate about where all the zombies came from, and immediately spits it all out when someone suggests that it might be "something in the water" that's to blame.
  • Steel Eardrums: Averted. Mickey fires Tracy inside the van, and everybody claps their hands over their ears while the soundtrack plays a rising you-have-been-temporarily-deafened tone.
  • Stop, or I Will Shoot!: Averted. All Mickey needs is for Katey to say "Zombies" before he blasts away the people coming towards him covered in blood.
  • Stupid Crooks: Terry and Andy aren't exactly paragons of competence, but their accomplice Davey makes them look like criminal masterminds. A flashback shows how he'd previously been arrested for robbing a shop, because he'd tried to get the cashier's phone number and set down his gun where she could grab it while he was showing off his scars.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The Army are successful in containing the slow walking, unarmed enemy to London and begin their counterattack.
  • Swarm of Rats: A bunch of rats fleeing the construction site scamper across the road in front of the would-be robbers' van. They don't do any harm, being far more concerned with retreating from the oncoming zombies.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Averted. Katey is not impressed by the disguise she is given for the bank raid - a hard hat and a moustache - and points out the obvious flaw.
    "I've got tits, you tit!"
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: Katy. She's easily the most competent of the non-elders and has a tanktop on under her jacket, which is shown when rescuing the pensioners.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Katy and Peggy are the Tomboys while Emma and Doreen are the Girly Girls to Terry and Andy's crew and the seniors, respectively.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Averted. Granddad keeps a very cool head while he and the pensioners are trapped, including recognising that “We’d be fucked up there!” if they were to shelter upstairs, a reference to the criticism of the popular zombie defence tactic of higher ground.
    • Played straight with Clive, who seems to think that repeatedly telling his kidnappers that he knows their names and will make sure they're prosecuted is a good idea.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Katy and Emma for Terry and Andy's crew, Peggy and Doreen for the seniors.
  • Undead Child: A baby in a pram turns in the hands of Mickey, only to be punted across the street in response.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: After Mickey twists a zombie's head off, Clive is shown clearly vomiting.
  • Wall of Weapons: The shipping container Mickey lives in seems to have every inch of its walls dedicated to storing every weapon under the sun. Rifles, submachine guns, a goddamn katana...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The bank manager stays behind when the robbers grab their hostages and leave, and we never see if she or the bank's customers have time to shut themselves inside before the zombies arrive.
  • Ye Olde Butchered English: Averted, the sealed crypt has contemporary English, although the construction workers who find it argue over wether or not it's Roman, so it may be a Translation Convention.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: A regional apocalypse, confined to London. Though that’s certainly an apocalypse for its 8,303,369 residents.
  • Zombie Apocalypse Hero: A band of misfit bank robbers and an old war veteran end up as this trope. Still armed with their bank robbing weapons, they find themselves in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse and must fight their way out.
  • Zombie Gait: Lampshaded in one exchange of dialogue.
    Andy: Is that as fast as they go?
    Terry: Mate, they're dead. They're not exactly gonna sprint, are they?
    • A couple of the characters express relief and laugh at the zombie stumbling slowly towards them.
    • Played for Laughs when an octogenarian with a walker is pursued across the lawn. He keeps just barely out of his zombie pursuer's reach as they both shuffle veeeery sloooowly along. Complete with chase music.
  • Zombie Infectee: Mickey gets bit by a zombie, but tries to shrug it off as nothing. Everyone else is savvy enough to realize what's going to happen, however.