ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011) Review

Directed by: Joe Cornish
Starring: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail

I don't know about you, but I personally don't really like the idea of horror/comedy films. In fact the only movies in this hybrid genre I've ever really enjoyed would probably be the Evil Dead trilogy. And when I heard that ATTACK THE BLOCK came from the producers of Shaun of the Dead, I was contemplating not even watching it at all. But I don't like to judge movies without even seeing them so I sat down and watched it. And I'm actually glad I did.

Luckily for me, ATTACK THE BLOCK isn't a horror film. It's kind of a teen/sci-fi/drama/comedy mashup about a group of young thugs defending their 'block' from an alien invasion. It reminded me of that British TV show Skins, but with aliens.
Led by Moses (Boyega), the group of youths confront a lone girl at knifepoint in the dark streets of London. After stealing her valuables, a meteor falls from the sky and lands nearby. When Moses investigates, he discovers a strange creature which then proceeds to run away. The gang chase down this alien and kill it. But unfortunately for them, there are more aliens on the way. Meteors start raining down all over London, so the boys equip themselves with an array of weapons and step out to hunt down the aliens. But these aren't quite as small and easy to kill as the first creature was, and soon they find that the aliens are hunting them. They escape back to the 'safety' of their block but soon realise that they are trapped inside and desperately need to find a way out.

When you get right down to it, this is one of those 'villain turns hero' movies. It's a story which has been told thousands of times over but somehow it's still interesting. And even though this is about an alien invasion, the focus is more on character development than the actual aliens themselves. The whole movie itself is pretty predictable but there is plenty of humour and action to keep it going at a steady pace. The acting was great and whoever was in charge of casting has done an excellent job finding these young teenagers. The creature effects aren't exactly the best, with the aliens looking like a bunch of black muppets with glow in the dark chompers. But that's not going to worry you much because most of your focus will be on the main group of characters anyway.

The biggest problem I had with the movie were the kids' accents, for some reason I just found them really fucking annoying. But apart from that the movie was great. Not original, not shocking, not a lot of tension or surprises but it was still a pretty solid and entertaining romp. And hell, who doesn't like to see a kid riding a pizza delivery scooter while wielding a katana?

 For a relatively low budget debut feature, director Joe Cornish has done a brilliant job, expect to see great things from him in the future.

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