Upcoming British films you don’t want to miss

Feature Louisa Mellor 26 Jun 2012 - 21:05

We profile a clutch of interesting upcoming British films; horrors, thrillers, comedies, and action pictures, that just might tickle your fancy over the coming months…

If anything, 2011 proved how impossible it is to predict the hits and misses of the British film industry. This time last year, mention of The Inbetweeners Movie was much more likely to share the same breath as ‘Kevin And Perry Go Large flop’ than ‘flipping enormous box-office hit’, though the latter describes what actually came to pass.

Last year's string of very decent British dramas garnered international awards recognition, films like Shame, We Need To Talk About Kevin, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. What will emerge triumphant from this year’s UK crop? Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina and Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables are early favourites, while Hammer’s The Woman In Black and Sam Mendes' Skyfall may also come up trumps awards-wise, but what of the less glossy, lower-budget side of things?

Below, we take a look at some of the smaller British films on their way in the coming months. They won’t all be huge hits, but many of them are interesting enough, or well-made enough, to richly deserve our support.

Cockneys Vs. Zombies

Boasting a name more memorable than promising, Cockneys Vs. Zombies is one of a raft of recent pictures, from Cowboys Vs. Aliens, to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Strippers Vs. Werewolves, trading on a kitsch title. What sets this one apart? Cockneys Vs. Zombies is actually very decent. It’s a Shaun Of The Dead-style horror comedy (yes, we know it’s an overused comparison, but it really bears repeating in this case) about a group of London bank robbers who have to fight their way through hordes of the living dead. The zombies are slow, the script’s fun, and if comedy horror is your genre, then this one’s well worth a look.

First-time feature director Matthias Hoene called the shots on Cockneys Vs. Zombies, from a script co-written by Doctor Who, Spooks, Torchwood, Girl Number 9 and Tower Block scribe James Moran and seasoned editor but first-time screenwriter Lucas Roche (Dead Man’s Shoes).

Professional cockney Alan Ford stars opposite Michelle Ryan, Georgia King, Honor Blackman and Richard Briers. No UK release date has been confirmed as yet.


Before anybody sends in a strongly worded letter, we know that Irish B-movie Grabbers isn’t technically British, but it was far too interesting to leave out of this group. Described as having an “unimprovable premise” by Telegraph critic Robbie Collin, Grabbers is a tale of blood-sucking aliens allergic to the blood of humans who are a bit Brahms and Liszt. Cue plenty of horror comedy potential as the residents of a small Irish island set about getting as drunk as possible to immunise themselves from alien attack.

A Sundance and Edinburgh Film Festival success, Grabbers is directed by Tormented’s Jon Wright from a script by newcomer Kevin Lehane. Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley and Russell Tovey number amongst the cast.

Grabbers is yet to have a UK release date confirmed, but we’ll keep you posted.

Berberian Sound Studio

Another to premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Berberian Sound Studio has to be a shoo-in for this year’s soon-to-be-announced FrightFest line-up. Set in 1976, this horror with a mouthful of a title takes place in “…one of the cheapest, sleaziest post-production studios in Italy”, where Toby Jones’ mild-mannered English sound engineer is employed to orchestrate the mix for a film by an Italian horror maestro styled after Dario Argento.

According to Warp X’s press release, Jones’ character soon “…finds himself lost in an otherworldly spiral of sonic and personal mayhem”, to which we can only offer one word: blimey. The atmospheric film was written and directed by Katalin Varga helmer Peter Strickland as homage to Italian horror and US 70s paranoia thrillers, and you can see it in the UK from the 31st of August.


Ben Wheatley’s Kill List was something of a head-scratcher, hailed by some as a many-layered, ultra-violent Battenberg cake* of a film that provocatively and ambiguously blended genres, and by others as… something of a mess. The director’s follow-up, Sightseers, is a similarly grisly mix of comedy and gore set against the distinctly British backdrop of a caravan holiday gone wrong, and has been warmly received by most at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for Wheatley’s visual style and the nimble script, which comes courtesy of its two leads, Steve Oram and Alice Lowe.

Sightseers comes to UK cinemas at the end of November.

*Okay, we don’t think anyone actually said Battenberg, but you get the idea, different coloured layers and that.

Guinea Pigs

The debut feature from Ian Clark, Guinea Pigs is not to be confused with those chirpy, cute G-Force critters, telling as it does the tale of eight volunteer medical testers losing it on an epic scale in a remote medical facility. The reason for their raging psychopathy? The new drug they’re clinically trialling, which turns out to have some pretty serious side-effects.

Clark’s atmospheric film has been praised for its documentary-style direction and strong performances, which have earned comparisons with impressive single-location thriller Exam and stylish Spanish pic, Fermat’s Room.

As yet, Guinea Pigs’ UK release date is unconfirmed, but we’ll let you know as soon as we find out.

The Man Inside

An original British thriller written and directed by Stormhouse helmer Dan Turner, The Man Inside centres on a young boxer (Ashley ‘Bashy’ Thomas) struggling to escape the violent, criminal life mapped out for him by his convict father (Homeland’s David Harewood).

Don’t let gritty British indie fatigue put you off, as this one comes with much to recommend it, not least the presence of gifted actor/director Peter Mullan (Tyrannosaur, Neds) as the boxing trainer who attempts to channel young Clayton’s demons into his sport. TV’s David Harewood and the erstwhile Bionic Woman Michelle Ryan also star.

The Man Inside comes to UK cinemas on the 27th of July.


Once the cries of ‘Why-oh-why do we need yet more remakes?’ died down, the cautious optimism began for this remake of Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn’s 1996 Danish thriller debut. The good news about Luis Prieto’s English-language Pusher remake is that Refn is on board as an executive producer, meaning the chances of it being butchered in translation are slim.

Refn’s crime thriller Pusher grew into a trilogy set in Copenhagen’s drug-dealing underworld, and Prieto has transported the action where else, but to London. Grabbers’ Richard Coyle stars as the lead in the English version, a dealer who falls foul of both the police and his criminal connections in the course of one very bad week. Model Agyness Deyn is to follow up her Clash Of The Titans cameo with a supporting role.

Pusher comes to UK cinemas on the 12th of October.

Storage 24

Another from the production house of Noel Clarke, according to whom Storage 24 does for the storage lock-up what Jaws did for the beach (though we imagine fewer summer holidays will be ruined by people terrified by industrial estate storage containers).

The storage lock-up is a genius horror location for when you think about it: isolated, slightly sordid, a place nobody actually lives but full of the mouldering detritus of human life, and importantly, nice and cheap to film in. The perfect place in which to trap a group of characters while a brilliantly designed alien stalks them, one might say.

Storage 24 comes from the director of 2010’s school-set horror F, Johannes Roberts, from a script co-written by Davie Fairbanks, Noel Clarke, Marc Small and Manu Kumaran. It’s released in the UK on the 29th of June.

The Rise & Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan

This recently-released crime drama comes written and directed by Jack Falls helmer Paul Tanter, and speeds its way towards a DVD release on the 2nd of July.

Based on a true story, The Rise & Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan takes in many standards of the British crime genre: violence, coke, and busty blondes, in its tale of a football hooligan who tumbles into the glamorous world of credit card crime.

British indie repeat performer Nick Nevern plays lead Mike Jacobs opposite a cast of characters called things like Topbeef and Nicey Pricey. If you like your violence geezer-y and your real-life crime stories lager-soaked, then you can’t go far wrong here.

The Quiet Ones

Currently filming, it won’t be until 2013 that we’re able to see Hammer’s next original horror, The Quiet Ones, but we thought the recently-revived British horror studio merited a mention.

In The Quiet Ones, Sherlock Holmes and Mad Men’s Jared Harris plays a university physics professor whose experiments create a poltergeist using energy and matter and parabolic curves and you know, physics stuff. A creepy supernatural thriller using the little-used horror trope of physics then, Hammer’s latest production is likely to cause some Brownian motion in the audience’s trousers. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a physics/poo pun. Probably best to just smile, nod, and walk away slowly.

Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 and Snow White And The Huntsman’s young Sam Claflin co-stars, under direction from Ghost Ship writer John Pogue.

The Knot

Out on the 1st of October from first-time feature director Jesse Lawrence is rom-com The Knot, co-written by more-pies-than-fingers British film polymath Noel Clarke, with Storage 24 co-writer Davie Fairbanks and Geoff Carino.

It’s the story of a couple (St. Trinian’s’ Talulah Riley and Misfits’ Matthew McNulty) who attempt to tie the titular knot under increasingly testing circumstances, ranging from the mundane (they’ve lost their bridesmaid) to the downright odd (they have to deal with a shipment of pig testicles). The Knot has been awarded a 15 certificate in the UK, so we can expect a level of raunch and gross-out moments akin to The Inbetweeners Movie, let’s say.

Noel Clarke and American Pie’s Mena Suvari also star.


Admittedly a very schlocky-looking horror, we felt compelled to include Airborne in this preview of interesting British pictures for probably the exact same reason it’s enjoyed what press it has: Luke Skywalker’s in it. Or Mark Hamill, as he prefers to be known.

Directed by Dominic Burns, whose How To Stop Being A Loser was, shall we say, not favourably received, Airborne takes place on a plane during a snowstorm. The assembled passengers and remaining crew (both pilots disappear early on) have to surf a wave of gory horror while some seriously odd shit goes down on board. Its tag-line, Come Die With Me, more or less sums up how high this one's reaching, we’d have said. It’s been described as a Twilight Zone thriller and a modest genre flick that comes out of its short run-time mostly unscathed. Probably not an instant classic, but hey, Luke Skywalker!

Tower Block

Punters at this year’s Frightfest will be granted the first chance to see British thriller Tower Block, which, despite its gritty social drama-sounding title, is being billed as a taut survival thriller. It’s from the pen of Mr James Moran, a name you may recognise from his Doctor Who and Torchwood writing credits (not to mention Cockneys Vs. Zombies, the horror comedy we were just on about).

Tower Block’s premise is that one year on from witnessing a brutal murder they were too intimidated to go to the police about, the residents of Tower Block 31 are being picked off by a vigilante sniper. It makes use of a classic location in the tower block, the backdrop to a host of great action pictures from Die Hard to Attack The Block and this year’s superlative martial arts flick, The Raid.

Direction comes from James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson, with a cast including Gavin & Stacey’s Sheridan Smith, Skins’ Jack O’Connell and Being Human’s Russell Tovey.

Welcome To The Punch

Shifty, Eran Creevy’s directorial and screenwriting debut about a man returning to his hometown to find an old friend in over his head with drugs and crime, received almost universal praise for its naturalistic dialogue, performances and shrewdly told story. Mercifully free of stylised Guy Ritchie gangster tics, the film was a calling card for a very talented new writer/director.

Creevy has assembled a strong UK cast for his follow-up, Welcome To The Punch, which stars James McAvoy, Mark Strong, Andrea Riseborough, and Peter Mullan. An action thriller set in the world of detectives and criminal kingpins, Welcome To The Punch may have the ring of just another Brit crime or (gulp) Danny Dyer film, but Creevy’s handiwork and his excellent cast are sure to elevate it well above lesser examples of the genre. 

Welcome To The Punch comes to UK cinemas on the 7th of September.

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Disqus - noscript

Why do so many british films feature cockneys and tower blocks?

This is why few people get behind brit flicks. say no to cockneys!

Get outta my pub!

This list is good news.

No costume dramas. Double Richard 'Cleft' Coyle. Double James Moran. Wheatley, Jones.

What's not to get excited about? We're getting our "Genre Flick" mojo on.

If your location shooting (and scouting) budget is tight, a tower block certainly helps.

LANE PRYCE. That is all.

James Moran also wrote 'Severance'. Definitely check it out if you haven't seen it.


I saw grabbers at the Galway film festival earlier on this year. Its quite good fun, it won't win any awards but its a fun Irish film which is good enough for me

Which of these are getting released in the US?

Horror, comedy, both, urban, gritty, drugs.

And this is what we, as a country, produce as entertainment?

Quits Britain and invests all film financing money in the French, Germans, Italians and Spanish film productions instead. :\

Or gritty urban drug-abusing horror sci-fi comedies for that matter. It is getting very old, very fast. No wonder it's so bloody difficult attracting private film investment when this is apparently all that's on offer.

Russell Tovey + Chair = Win. That is all.

So, pretty much gritty, low key horror for the most part. I don't want to appear critical, but have we forgot how to produce any other type of film?

The problem in this country is the Indusry is a closed shop. How can a nobody get Involved and where is His or Her opportunity to do so? They are the people I want to hear from not this lot above.
We are the home of Shakesphere and the above passes as entertainment in 2012?
I look forward too Ray Winstone vs Football Hooligans vs Danny Dyer vs Men on the Dole vs Plastic London Gangsters vs Mi middle class is going all street on you bruv vs Women who dont need Men to get the job done vs Explicit porn dressed up as Art vs more footbal hooligans vs that person is big on the telly lets make a film with her/him vs Zombies vs even more football hooligans vs corsets vs plenty more london gangsters you mug!

What you don't seem to get is that Shakespeare, were he around now, would be doing a zombie film. Or play.

Or did you not notice the ghosts in Hamlet & Macbeth, the sprites, fairies and magical transformations in A Midsummer Night's Dream and the general Magick goings on in The Tempest?

If Shakespeare were writing now, he'd be doing horror or romcoms (no one would finance the historicals except perhaps BBC4, who are light on cash right now)

And right now, I'm a "nobody". I'm not involved. Yet. But I'm not complaining. I'm writing. Writing my arse off on scripts involving murder, action, ghosts, demons, love, horror, romance - the stuff people enjoy, and working on making a name for myself

No-one's going to hand you the keys without you proving yourself, so go do it. The industry is not a "closed shop" - the door is unlocked, you just haven't opened it yet.

I want to see all of these. Except maybe the Pusher remake and the White Collar Hooligan one.

David Cameron's going to a have a field day!

WHAT ABOUT DREDD? DNA films is British.

What about The Seasoning House?? Can't believe it's not on this list.

Nice article. BUT... if you're talking about 'British' films, then probably the correct phrase would be 'forthcoming'.
'Upcoming' either describes something American, or the rapid re-arrival of yesterday's dinner...

There's nothing wrong with that - providing that said zombies, ghosts, demons or whatever are dealt with in a way that has not been seen before and doesn't rehash stuff that's come before it.

Interesting mix of films. Sightseers is my fav from this list. Is Ben any relation of Denis Wheatley?

Storage 24 sounds like a pretty dreadful idea. And anyone who thought Kill List was "...something of a mess" deserves to be on a kill list.

No Hugh Grant or Colin Firth - excelllllllent

canuck here, on board for almost all of them. i'll bet most are good profit or not.

I actually enjoy british films. Generally have a very dry wit that requires some thought and harbor a refreshing pacing that is different from american films.
Of course it would be an even better experience if anyone could understand what they're saying. Is there a law in britain against speaking above a mumble?
"The American and British are two great peoples seperated by a common language"~~George Patton

Dear oh dear oh dear. All that's missing is a film about a person(or persons) from the North who take up an activity that you wouldn't expect that person(or persons) to be any good at, yet, against all the odds and opposition from people who say that person(or persons) shouldn't and couldn't do that activity, they do that activity better than you'd expect that person(or persons) to do that activity.

It is you my friend who fail to understand Shakesphere. He wrote about the human condition, what it feels like to be alive, to suffer loss or to overcome the odds. I dont see him pitching the uninspiring trash above to BBC 4 myself or a raft of souless horror movies and zombie movies.
I wish you all the luck in the world in breaking the industry.but you will find it hard if you have a roof to keep over your head and almost zero funding available to you. Their are no free courses to learn filmaking or a charity to lease equipment from and if their are then please enlighten me.
Shane Meadows is the perfect example of someone who made it off his own back and I am damn glad he did. He is the only British filmaker who
speaks to me everytime he does something.

That my friend is my point. When was the last time a Horror movie or Zombie film inspired you? Made you look at life different?
Art should make you think....Hell I love The Rocky films, The original Willy Wonka, Glengarry glenn ross, Some like it hot, The Cannonball Run. I do understand that films can be for entertainment purposes only but every horror film and zombie film is like listening to one singular long note pressed down on a piano. One Horror, One zombie film fine but now their are too many and they are uneccessary in my opinion.

Good luck to you Robin and like Simon above I wish you all the best in the industry. However how many people know how to find twistedshowcase? who even heard of it before you mentioned it?
what member of the general public will google twistedshowcase for an evenings entertainment.
You mistunderstand my point above entirely. Why cant somebody like you who no doubt like Simon above had worked on hard on creating something (with all the commitment and sacrifice of your own personal time) not be given the chance to showcase your work on say Channel 4 in the late hours where everyone can see it?
Tv is filled with reality trash, celebs who are for no reason but publicity seeking lowlifes. Why cant I flick on BBc, ITV, 4 or 5 and see somebody like yours or Simons work.
I am actually both on your sides not against you.

Im not a fan of Noel Clarke... He seemed pretty talented when he first burst on the scene, but does he have to be in everything he writes/produces/directs. He's a ropey actor at best and I he does nothing to improve British cinema if anything he is the archetypical stereotype of everything clichéd about it

surley the idea has to be there before the money turns it into a film? as most investors/backers will just want to get a better return than sitting in the bank etc. so isnt it a lack of creative people finding investors willing to back something a little different more the issue?

Art also has to pay the bills. In an ideal world, yes, everything would be original and we'd all be cooing over the every film release - but the reality is that while people go to the cinema and watch these kind of films (and right now the "reboot" is the in thing), it's not going to go away any time soon.

Depends on if you're looking for some sort of tax relief.. ;)

I agree Martyn that art must pay the bills....but where are the risks?
It does not take money, great screenwriting is what I want more of...12 angry men and the orginal Pelham 123 prove that.
When Spiderman is rebooted after just 5 years and the new film covers the basic ground of 2002's version it does not bode well for the immediate future.

Agreed! Noel Clarke is a dreadful actor! One of the worst I have ever seen.

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