Attack the Block (2011)
Director: Joe Cornish
In South London a group of young teens (am talking young, 15 years old and under) have to step up and defend da hood from an unexpected alien invasion. ALLOW IT!
When I rolled on in ATTACK THE BLOCK's hood, it was with high expectations. Can you blame me? Everybody and their uncle's mistress's bitch has been sucking this movie off, saying its the best things since ribbed condoms. So when I finally started to watch it, I was half expecting for the sky to fall on my head and for the man on the moon to start rapping about the pros and cons of long distance relationships...and even though that didn't happen... it was pretty damn close...I had a freaking blast!
All I kept thinking while watching ATTACK THE BLOCK was the 80's genre classics THE MONSTER SQUAD and freaking CRITTERS. I know weird, but the cheeky, 80's-ish sense of humor reminded of them and on top of that, the eventual key setting (a high rise) screamed CRITTERS 3 to me (the Crites invade a building in the so-so sequel). Not sure if writer/director Joe Cornish grew up on fun cheese horror flicks or not; but he delivered a love letter to them with his feature length directorial debut and made me feel all nostalgic and shit. To be honest I wasn't too impressed with the first 10 or 15 minutes or so of this badboy. The premise didn't fully grab me (been there, done that a zillion times) but worse of all the heroes I was asked to care and root for were a bunch of annoying, thug wannabee kids. The flick could've ended right there with a couple of spankings, roll credits. But if there's one thing I learned about doing this job is that, much like some dame you pick up in a dimly lit night club, drunk off your ass, you gotta reserve judgment until you've seen the full picture, i.e. the end credits. And I'm happy that I stuck around to see this one's goods, cause the more the clock ticked forward, the more the story and its characters grew on me and by the end of it all, I was one happy mofo.
Yup; the zany situation eventually defined the kids, made some of them more likable and in terms of the lead kid Moses (played by John Boyega who screamed star material and was a dead ringer for Denzel Washington) revealed more of his “human” nature, hence making him more than just a thug, but a dude with issues that needs to grow. But don't get me wrong here, ATTACK THE BLOCK wasn't some in depth look at inner city kids and the lessons they learn via being butt-plugged by aliens; nope, it was a ride, one that once it kicked into gear, didn't stop tossing the party favors my way till the end. Am talking cool chase sequences, freaking awesome alien packs on the hunt bits, a handful of money monsters attack sequences, some gore, lots of yuks, yuks and all draped in nifty 80's horror movie type of lighting at that. The visual style was on fire to say the least, echoing the film's energy via its imagery (really dug that slow motion money shot near the end, I almost clapped, cause I'm a loser that way) while the OUTSTANDING score by Steven Price (which had a groovy retro electronic vibe to it) greased me right too. What about the monsters you may ask? Mucho coolio! It's hard to be original in that department, I mean everything has been done, redone and done again. The beasties here were a mix of a Crite (Critters...again), crossed with a Gorilla who chewed on too many glow-sticks. The design was simple, yet effective. And the execution of said effects worked (practical effects, dudes in suits, yippee) and were a freaking treat to watch.
Add to all that; a very credible young cast (bought them all), an endearing cuss heavy show by hottie Jodie Whittaker, a low-key yet hilarious performance by Nick Frost (who made for a great stoner), big boss Jumayn Hunter stealing the scenery every time he popped up (I loved his character's rap song...BLAP, BLAP, BLAP!), South London slang that baffled me at first but that eventually warmed to me and some groovy Pop Culture references (like Ghostbusters or Gears of War) and you get fun freaking times in a bottle. Any complaints? Not really, I wish the flick would've gunned out more gore, more kills and more suspense. I didn't think the balance was always on the tit in terms of comedy AND horror... but on the whole, I loved it and will see it again!
Rip throat, chewed leg, lopped off head, face chewed off...good times!
T & A
Nope! Shame, a random tit shot would've made this one feel 80's ish complete.
It's Monster Squad meets Critters in the hood! Once again, I get a horror fix with punch from outside the Hollywood system! This is starting to become a pattern. ATTACK THE BLOCK put me off at first but as it rolled on, I got into its characters, its odd (to my Canuck ass) yet freaking cool slang heavy dialogue and with time connected to its sense of humor. It also displayed a solid teen cast (John Boyega should become a star), some scene robbers (Nick Frost and Jumayn Hunter murdered me), unique creatures designs (that were practical at that) and enough chase/monster shenanigans to hit the spot. Yup, more kills, gore and tension would have been swell, but overall, had a party in my seat and hope they do a sequel...I want the block to get attacked again! Sing it with me now: “Get dat snitch, get da strap, don't give a fuck, BRAP BRAP, BRAP!”
Am anticipating a US remake, cause hey, that's what Hollywood do with horror now, take other people's ideas and put them through the machine.