Attack the Block

This is the kind of movie that looks like it’s going to be a joke and just wants to make fun of alien invasion movies with cheesy effects and bad dialogue but I was pleasantly surprised by this film, which turns out to be much better than expected and is rapidly gaining critical acclaim.

A UK Indie film produced by the same company that made Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007), this movie is actually one of those sleeper hits that comes out of nowhere like District 9 (2009) or Kick-Ass (2010) and surprises everyone with its humor, engaging storyline and character development. On top of that the film is full of action and very suspensefully paced and edited together with a great soundtrack. 

A mix of would be super-heroes, a street gang of young hoodlums who rob the locals and end up defending themselves and their housing estate tower block in South London, England from alien creatures that arrive one night looking for payback after the gang kills one of their much smaller females.

At the beginning of the movie you feel no sympathy for these obnoxious, hooded, misfit street kids who get their jollies mugging a woman at knife point, but by the end of the movie we the audience have completely changed our opinion. We get to discover their lives and their environment intimately while they battle a horde of furry black aliens that only they seem to be aware of.

The movie is mostly about the group of street kids and their relationships to each other and the tower block they live in which quickly gets overrun by creatures from outer space that are quite scary and unique looking with their black fur and glowing fangs. Expertly filmed and acted it will make you laugh and surprise you with its heart but never lets up the action and suspense.

Similar to Super 8 (2011), which is also about a group of kids doing battle with aliens and finding out about life in the process, but this time in an urban city setting. The kids use whatever they can find at hand and are forced to quickly improvise weapons as they go. They end up helping the very people that they were robbing at the beginning and regretting the decisions of their gang lifestyle.

I liked this movie because it blends several genres; Sci-fi, action adventure, suspense thriller, horror, urban gang, and comedy, and succeeds with flying colors. It’s funny, moving and exciting at the same time. With the chases and the death toll rising, the tension quickly builds and before you know it you are so much closer to the characters that you miss them when it’s over.

The style of the film is a mix of urban night time gang warfare, like The Warriors (1979), with a family or gang of kids defending their turf against aliens, like Signs (2002), The Host (2006) and Super 8 (2011). The results work pretty well with lots of humor coming from the unknown cast of local English street kids.

If you like this kind of movie also see the above mentioned excellent movies like The Host, Signs, District 9, Kick-Ass and Super 8.



Sandra McLeod Humphrey said...

I'd actually never heard of this film, but your description was so appealing that I might just check it out. Thanks for your review and comments!

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