Attack the Block  (2011)

We've all had the dream about saving the world from an alien invasion, right? The creatures land in our backyard, they turn hostile but we're able to kill them somehow, lead our friends, save the girl, and emerge victorious. "Attack the Block" drops aliens into the slums of London, and turns a group of teenage thugs into heroes.

On Guy Fawkes Night, fireworks are exploding all over London. When something crashes into a car, a group of young thugs investigate, and are attacked by a creature inside. The kids manage to kill it, and they decide that before they sell it to the highest bidder, they'll stash it at their weed dealer's vault, the safest spot in the neighborhood. When it turns out the creature was just the first of many that would crash to Earth, the gang has to fight off an entire horde of vicious aliens.

John Boyega was launched to stardom with "The Force Awakens", and made his debut just four years earlier in "Attack the Block". The rest of the cast is mostly unknowns with the exception of the always-great Nick Frost as a mid-level drug dealer. Luke Treadaway also stands out as a philosophical stoner who is way too high for this shit.

While the movie does fall into typical horror tropes of the group being split up, dying cell phone batteries, and members being picked off one-by-one, it totally makes up for it with the fun action sequences, very cool cinematography, and awesome creature effects. The creatures really were a highlight for me. At first they looked odd, like it was actually a cheap computer effect - the switch happens when one of them is killed and the humans can inspect it close-up. They realize that the "wolf-ape-alien" is covered in black fur, but it's such a deep rich black that light doesn't reflect at all. This technique was perfect in creating a creature that doesn't obey Earth's natural laws, and gave it a unique feel compared to alien invasion movies before this. The technique also basically let the directors embrace their smaller budget - rather than trying to create a realistic monster that could be picked apart in HD, they said "screw it, our aliens are blacker than black with glowing teeth, accept it."

The only real drag of the movie was the combination of thick accents and street slang. If you've watched Da Ali G Show you know the type of chav I'm talking about, and there were a few times I had to rewind and throw Closed Captioning on for a moment to fully understand what a character was saying. Since it's a purely British film I can forgive it, and the distraction only occurred a few times. Once you embrace the accents and everything, it's a fun/scary/exciting alien invasion movie, definitely worth a watch.

[Celluloid Hero] gives "Attack the Block" a 7 out of 10.

 

 

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