Everyday on the news, you hear about some gang that killed a lady walking home from work, or kidnapped a child and sold her for a couple of keys of cocaine. To us, this has become the norm. To me, that’s a little bit screwed up, but that’s a whole different conversation for a different post. The thing you don’t hear about gangs doing is surviving alien attacks. Now that is some news worthy shit.
London, England is known for its young gang problem, and in the film Attack the Block, we meet some of the personalities that make up this demographic. On her way home from work, Sam (Jodie Whittaker), a young lady in medical school, is mugged by a group of young hooligans who hail from what is known as, The Block. The four teens, who are known as Pest, Jerome, Dennis, and their leader, Moses (Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, Franz Drameh, and John Boyega, respectively), unknowingly live in the same building as Sam. They take orders from the boss of a local drug dealer, Ron (Nick Frost), named Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter). Ron’s friend, Brewis (Luke Treadway), is a rich-boy, budding zoologist with more street smarts than he lets on. All these characters are connected by one place, The Block, which is the central location of a sudden alien attack.
Attack the Block is a fast-moving, brutal, funny, and action-packed horror comedy from the producers of Shaun of the Dead. With a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a mere 6.8 on IMDb, I wondered whether or not this movie was going to be good. It seemed like viewers didn’t enjoy it, yet it attained critical acclaim. Regardless, I pressed play with an open mind, and let the dirtiness of London wash over me.
I’m here to report that, as far as I’m concerned, Attack the Block is pretty damn cool. Starting off unevenly, with some cheesy dialogue and a confusing introduction to the characters, I was afraid that this was going to be a long 89 minutes. But, once the film hit the 15-minute mark, it seemed like everything switched into high gear, and it didn’t let up until the end credits rolled. The film’s low budget was not noticeable at all, as the monsters were extremely well constructed and scary. The acting from the hooligans was surprisingly accurate and well-rehearsed, especially from the lead, John Boyega, who looks like the illegitimate son of Mike Tyson and Denzel Washington. The writing is quick and layered, and the camerawork doesn’t rely on shaky-cam at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love shaky cam, but it wouldn’t have worked in this film, and I’m so glad they didn’t use it.
Above all, Attack the Block is both a great action movie and a social commentary on the state of the projects in London, as well as this generation’s desensitization to such extremes that it causes them to go out and fight the monsters as opposed to hide from them. I’m probably way off when it comes to this, but I’m trying to be deep, give me a chance here.
Regardless of my bad explanation of the film’s social commentary, you should most definitely watch Attack the Block when you get the chance, you won’t be disappointed.