GANGSTERS, GUNS AND ZOMBIES (2012)
After comitting a bank robbery, gangsters Tony, Q, Muscles, Crazy Steve and Pat ride through the streets in a white transit van with seriously injured team member Danny in the back. Whilst driving through town, it quickly becomes apparent that something isn’t quite right with the pedestrians…. hoardes chasing screaming innocents, cannibalistic humans devouring fallen bodies and a poor grannie battling a crazed human in the back of a black cab with her zimmerframe. Yes, the undead have risen, but all the guys are concerned about is getting to the safe house near the coast and saving their mate Danny. Ensue laughs, guns, zombies and a hell of a lot of ass-kicking, blood-splattered carnage!
Taking a Reservoir Dogs approach to the whole bank heist scenario, by depicting the scenes post-robbery, GANGSTERS, GUNS AND ZOMBIES manages to create a realistic, light and fun zombie-horror-comedy film with a jaw-dropping budget of just a few thousand pounds. The main chunk of the action happens inside the transit van and it’s here where we learn of each of the personalities of the gangster crew. Tony (Huggy Leaver) is the big boss man, the brains behind the operation, who’s handy with a gun and ain’t afraid to use it on anyone when he feels like it. Getaway driver, Q (Vincent Jerome), is the newbie to the team who doesn’t seem totally keen on the events which have transpired. Crazy Steve (Fabrizio Santino) is, well, a crazy psychotic nutter that isn’t too bright, and Muscles (Charlie Rawes) and Pat (Frank Rizzo) are the likable, quieter two of the group. Pitting these five, with an injured newbie Danny (Simon Matthews), against swarms of the undead and the possibilty of the end of the world is quite a fun matter. If it wasn’t for the constant, explicit swearing, it would be a much lighter affair and no doubt have secured a certificate 15, rather than it’s current certificate of 18.
Whilst it’s not a rib-achingly or constantly laugh out loud funny film, certain dialogue and action scenes when the gang do battle with the walking deceased do raise a smile and a wee chuckle. The whole approach to the film’s horrific action is done in a mild-mannered or tongue-in-cheek way but the filmmakers ensure the horror crowd are pleased with lots of blood squirting and spraying over everywhere.
The special FX in Gangsters, Guns and Zombies are limited due to the budget restraints but I felt the effort put into the film was remarkable. The zombies look fantastic and the threat of the undead is quite real, if not slightly humourous at times. Director Matt Mitchell and his crew shot large sequences at night to create an apocalyptic feel. With a lack of funds to create actual desolate environments, darkness is the only free ally that they could use, but it works extremely well.
Gangsters, Guns and Zombies is the sort of film you’d love to be a part of as each and every step of the way looks as though the cast are having a blast. You don’t need a moody, depressing script to make a good zombie film. We’ve had too many of them and quite frankly I’m bored, so I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing, playful attempt at the genre. It’s independent, cheeky and good for a giggle.
The DVD also features a 30 minute documentary, ‘The Making of Gangsters, Guns and Zombies: Fake Blood, Sweat and Tears’ which chronicles the production, from casting to certain struggles Matt Mitchell and his team had to overcome.
Download the prequel comic for Gangsters, Guns and Zombies here