The kids have little time to celebrate their victory, however; more meteorites soon come crashing down, these much bigger than the first. And inside are aliens that are several times larger, vicious gorilla-sized beings who seem to know what the boys have done and who track them down to their high-rise apartment building. It just so happens that Sam also lives there, and she ends up in the crossfire as outer space takes on the inner city.
The End Result
Horror fans who might have felt miffed at Super 8's family-friendly tone should revel in Attack the Block's graphic gore, language and distinctly unsympathetic creatures. There's no hint of E.T. in these aliens, whose ingeniously simple design (basically, blackness with teeth) makes them the most striking movie monsters in recent memory. It's so refreshing to see a cinematic creature who actually becomes more intimidating the more you see of it.
Running an efficient hour and a half, Attack the Block barrels along at a breakneck pace, taking only brief pauses to inject humor from Nick Frost and Luke Treadway as an affable drug dealer and his customer, respectively. It plays a bit like John Carpenter's Assault of Precinct 13 -- except with aliens (i.e., what Ghosts of Mars should've been) -- as enemies form alliances to fend off a common foe who's laying siege to the building they're in. Despite the film's relatively small scale, it delivers action sequences more intense and exciting than many $100 million blockbusters, thanks to well-planned set pieces and an energetic spirit both in front of the cameras and behind.
Writer-director Joe Cornish of course deserves a bulk of the credit -- so much so that it's amazing to realize that Attack is his feature film debut. The movie is shot with an attractive, larger-than-life cinematic flair, yet the characters ring true (perhaps because Cornish based them on people he's encountered in real life). These aren't bad kids; although they do some bad things, they end up redeeming themselves. They're not the sort of disposable caricatures who in most horror movies would unwittingly mug a maniac in an alley and end up on the wrong end of a machete. The unknown cast of adolescents performs admirably, headed by Boyega, who emits a smoldering, quiet confidence with striking features reminiscent of a young Denzel Washington. Only more British.
- Acting: B+ (Believable, down to earth.)
- Direction: B (Deftly handles comedy, action and horror elements.)
- Script: A- (Funny, exciting and scary but with a heart and even a moral.)
- Gore/Effects: A (Wonderful CGI monster design and old-fashioned gore makeup.)
- Overall: A- (Perhaps the most fun you'll have at a movie this year.)
Attack the Block is directed by Joe Cornish and is rated R by the MPAA for creature violence, drug content and pervasive language. Release date: July 29, 2011.