Full of gory practical effects and fluent pop-cultural references, Attack the Block
--an alien invasion scenario squeezed into a single apartment building--belongs to the same species of British genre comedy as Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead
and Hot Fuzz
. Director Joe Cornish takes some clever routes around the limitations of his budget, filming on location in London's Heygate Estate (itself a once utopian science-fiction experiment) and mining the freshness of his young cast's authentic street slang. When the aliens arrive (they simply drop, during a frosty Bonfire Night, out of the shining pepper of the stars) they're also smartly designed: primal and supernatural, no detail escapes their digitally-blackened fur other than a set of menacingly glowing teeth, all of them incisors. The block's defence is up to a group of teenage hoods, lead by the imposing Moses (John Boyega) and reluctantly helped by middle-class neighbour Sam (Jodie Whittaker). Armed with fireworks and mounted on muscle bikes, they launch an entertaining and Spielbergian resistance through the block's labyrinth of corridors and walkways. As the body count racks up, Joe Cornish's smart script highlights the block's painful social divisions: Sam, the audience surrogate, is mugged by Moses' crew in the film's opening scene, and through Sam we're drawn into the poignant domestic lives of kids on the brink of gangsterism. More alien to each other than the beasts on their tail, the survival of these divided class members hangs on the recognition that they have a stake in each other. --Leo Batchelor
Attack the Block
is a fast, funny, frightening action adventure movie that pits a teen gang against an invasion of savage alien monsters. It turns a London housing estate into a sci-fi playground. A tower block into a fortress under siege. And teenage street kids into heroes. It¹s inner city versus outer space.
Trainee nurse Sam is walking home to her flat in a scary South London tower block when she’s robbed by a gang of masked, hooded youths. She’s saved when the gang are distracted by a bright meteorite, which falls from the sky and hits a nearby parked car. Sam flees, just before the gang are attacked by a small alien creature that leaps from the wreckage. The gang chase the creature and kill it, dragging its ghoulish carcass to the top of the block, which they treat as their territory.
While Sam and the police hunt for the gang, a second wave of meteors fall. Confident of victory against such feeble invaders, the gang grab weapons, mount bikes and mopeds, and set out to defend their turf. But this time, the creatures are bigger. Much bigger. Savage, shadowy and bestial, they are hunting their fallen comrade and nothing will stand in their way. The estate is about to become a battleground. And the bunch of no-hope kids who just attacked Sam are about to become her, and the block’s, only hope.