Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Attack The Block (2011) - 4/5

"You discovered a species hitherto unknown to science, possibly extra-terrestrial in nature, and you kicked its head in." - Ron

There is a certain aura or atmosphere that was embraced by fantastical 80s films that have knocked socks off of an entire generation of movie goers. This aura, somewhat of an unexplained phenomenon that mixes a slew of genres into one, has been revived in the last few years. "Attack The Block" is a film that not only crafts this same feeling, but does so without ever having to blatantly use inside jokes to do so. Nothing says fun quite like inner city London teens having to fight off an alien invasion. It helps that the film is not afraid to take it to its limits either.

Moses (Boyega), a young gang leader in south London, may have had a tough night to begin with when he and his gang rob a young woman (Whittaker) for spare change, but when a creature falling from the sky decides to attack his posse he takes matters into his own hands. Now Moses and gang are going to have to protect their block and what is theirs from an seemingly endless force of glowing fanged 'wolf-gorilla motherfuckers'...

The respect has to be given to "Attack The Block" and its rather endless surprises. On the surface it feels like "The Goonies" meets "Critters" (which on this site is one of the highest calibers of praise) with its collection of young kids crafting weapons out of everyday objects and being thrust into a fantasy like world of adventure and danger, with the danger being giant blackest of black aliens. In many senses, this is what carries the charm of the film. A strong cast of youth partnered with a rather childish idea of 'less is more' when it comes to over explaining itself  and really "Attack The Block" is a simple adventure story. It works with passion. We cheer for our heroes, hiss at the baddies, laugh at the witty dialogue, and constantly throw ourselves at the whim of its basic plot progression. It's heartfelt and entertaining.

What "Attack The Block" does differently than say its counterparts from the 80s, is that it pushes itself with modern style to rather intense moments. Horror themes run with some well crafted tense moments and moments of striking gore (including a face removal scene), the dialogue does not shy away from being offensive at times with swearing and pop culture references, and our heroic team is not all that shiny and upstanding. In fact, our lead Boyega is down right brutal and efficient in his delivery of the character Moses - which does pay off in the end as we begin to really root for the kids and a final showdown climaxes.  It's these more extreme elements that modernize the film and place it firmly in this day and age even with its 80s style foundations.

"Attack The Block" might not be for everyone with its quick dialogue, extreme moments of terror, and dark characters, but for those willing to see past the surface level and down into the heart of this film - it's easily one of the best of the year. One that twists itself in such entertaining ways, its hard to wipe the smile from your face by the time the credits roll. A must see for genre fans.

Written By Matt Reifschneider


  1. This was a huge surprise for me. Figured it was going to be more of a comedy horror ala Shaun of the Dead. It had it's comedic moments but moreso stayed pretty intense throughout the whole movie. Great style to it.

  2. Hoho! Solid little film with great old school FX and a cheesy ending that made me smile in spades!