Film Review : Attack the Block

The poster for Attack the BlockSomewhere in South London, a gang of inner-city youph are out mugging passers-by when a meteor crashes into a nearby car. When they go to nick whatever is in the busted open vehicle they discover the meteor was inhabited by a strange dog-like creature. So they kill it.

Unfortunately for them, the creature had friends on the way…

Attack the Block is an entertaining take on the alien invasion genre, with the young protagonists fighting off large beasts with flick knives and baseball bats on a large council estate. Unlike most films, the gang is not glamorised and is shown to be pretty pathetic as they flee the creatures on BMXs and scooters, falling back on the few resources available to them. Each character is well rendered, and a lot of the humor comes from interplay between the cast in an impenetrable argot.

The creatures themselves are fantastically conceived – big and scary in a way that transcends the low budget. The way they slink through the smokey corridors (are the lights flickering? why yes they are) is fascinating and Attack the Block doesn’t make the mistake of letting the audience get a clear look.

Some of the best parts of the film are when the gang members’ tough-guy affectations slip and you see hints of their normal existence when they are not out on the streets. But Attack the Block never lapses into social commentary, keeping the focus on the matter at hand – avoiding the tougher gangs, the police, and aliens in more or less in that order.

Suspenseful, fast paced, and funny. Highly recommended.