In what will probably be known as the “era of the remake”, a movie like Attack the Block is exactly what we need. The film is not an entirely original idea, yet it takes classic story elements and combines them in a way that is not only smart and refreshing, but exciting and entertaining. Combining science fiction, action thrills, and a splash of comedy to season, debut director Joe Cornish brings the house down with what was, in my eyes, a superbly written film with great acting that displayed a uniquely fresh and real look at what would happen if a gang of youths from the wrong side of the block try to defend Earth from an alien invasion. Attack the Block is produced by the people that brought us Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and also utilized the talents of Executive Producer Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). Plus it stars a few of Britain’s choice actor’s, Nick Frost and Jodie Whitaker. All of these ingredients say it has the makings of becoming a cult favorite.
The story starts out somewhat dark. A nurse, Sam (Whitaker), is walking home alone and on her way she gets mugged by the neighborhood hoodlums. During said mugging something crashes into a car next to them. Sam escapes in the confusion and the leader of the gang, Moses (played by John Boyega), lets her leave and investigates the now wrecked car. Trying to loot the car for whatever he can find he gets attacked by a mysterious creature. Moses and his gang chase it into a shed and he goes in to pay it back for the scar it left on his face. Having killed it, his gang realizes it’s not of this world and go to their local weed dealer, Ron (Frost), for advice on what to do. Putting it safely away in the safest room on the block, the weed room, they spend the rest of the night trying to have fun and it doesn’t turn out that way. What follows is a barrage of the same type of creatures landing all throughout the south London suburb on what is the firework-shooting holiday equivalent of the 4th of July in Britain.
With the police and public unaware of what’s going on, it’s up to Moses and his crew to defend the block. What ensues is a fun ride filled with action and adventure. Like any sci-fi movies dealing with deadly aliens, humans don’t always survive. It takes the more hard-fought and willful heroes to survive an alien attack, and some of the kids in the group, good-hearted as their characters might be written, fall in some very real and heroically tragic ways. At the end of it you start to realize that these are just children trying to defend the world, and it might be too much for them to handle, but they overcome the odds only to be blamed for what the police think was just a night of rowdy fun. I know that sounds a little spoilery, but really there’s so much more going on in this movie that I didn’t tell you that makes it worth seeing.
Being that I’m, like a lot of my fellow Nerdlocker writers are, an Edgar Wright superfreak, I went into this movie kind of expecting that same feel. And while it wasn’t exactly the same, it had a similar tone and sense of humor. Lots of action and story interspersed with short comedic breaks where we’re able to catch our breath and assess what just happened. All in all this film has something everyone can leave with, including a memorable and unbelievable modern soundtrack composed by Steven Price, Felix Buxton, and Simon Ratcliffe that sounded like it belonged in a trendy nightclub but also fit perfectly in a movie about the hood. The only song the trio didn’t compose was the closing credits song which was done by Basement Jaxx.
If you like a fast ride that’s as engaging as it is entertaining then Attack the Block is for you. Just keep an open mind, and pay attention; heavy British accents abound. I’m going to give it four out of five nerdskulls.