With a high energy quotient, likeable, believable characters, witty rapport conveying a genuine sense of camaraderie, and an adventurous spirit, this modern classic from director Joe Cornish (in his directorial debut in the same year he co-wrote The Adventures of TinTin) offers entertainment in spades. It works simultaneously as a loving throwback to the long-lost genre of ’80s Spielberg-esque kids-on-a-mission films (although it’s decidedly more violent and gruesome than any of those movies), and an example of modern entertainment at its finest, with touching, pointed political commentary about poor kids being left out to dry by society to boot. Attack the Block should be what all blockbusters aspire to be, and it puts so many other films with ten or twenty times its budget to shame. And the ghostly, warbled soundtrack is pretty great too.
Attack the Block is a horror movie. It’s suspenseful and frequently chilling. There are monsters. People die, even teenagers. And the deaths are bloody. The narrative, about a group of poor inner-city teenagers lead by Moses (John Boyega) who accidentally unleash an alien-horde on their high-rise apartment block and must escape or fight back, clearly reveals an approximation of horror. But the film also has a giddy, irresistible energy, a willingness to play around with genre conventions and to create likable, fun characters that sound and act like real teenagers – a rarity in the film world. This is as much comedy and coming-of-age as horror, and the laughs are of the gallows variety. The closet approximation, as mentioned, would be all those mid-80s Spielberg-esque “kids on a mission” movies like The Goonies. But don’t take your kids to this movie, unless you’re looking to thrust them into nightmarish adulthood earlier than need be. Continue reading