Okay, I took a little hiatus from the movie reviews. It’s been an extremely busy month and a half. But I know how much Ryan looks forward to my posts, so I’m trying to get back on that horse as quickly as possible. And for my triumphant return to 47 Reviews, I decided to review Attack the Block, a new horror/alien movie courtesy of the UK team that brought us Shawn of the Dead. Well, part of the team. Producers mostly. Also Nick Frost who plays bumbling drug dealing middle man Ron in the movie. I think he always plays an enjoyable supporting character, as he does in ATB, but he was only a small cog in the team that made this movie work.
So getting down to business, the movie is set in a sketchy area of South London where teen gangs roam the streets and drug dealers operate grow labs out of apartment buildings. To give this American, and therefore real context, think of Hell’s Kitchen from the Daredevil comics. The movie actually opens up with one of these wacky adolescent goon squads mugging a sweet young nurse at knife point, and these are the heroes of the story! Actually, it is kind of nice to see these characters given some emotional depth as the movie goes on. They’re just young kids in a crummy situation, not really intending any serious harm with their ruffian behavior. And as their stories are developed, you start to sympathize with their situation and small time delinquency.
During the mugging, shit gets real when a meteorite crash lands in a nearby car, knocking everybody off their feet. But as you can tell from the poster up above, this ain’t no regular meteorite. The hooligans in training quickly realize that it’s an alien who took an intergalactic cannonball right into the middle of their hood, and they chase this thing down. Because, you know, represent! Anyway, the boys led by chief troublemaker Moses, drag their extraterrestrial carnival prize around town with them, and decide the safest place to store it is behind the armored door of their friendly neighborhood drug dealer, Hi-Hatz. I swear that this makes slightly more sense than it sounds.
Well it isn’t long before the police, mugging victim, neighbors, and huge, scary fucking aliens get involved, and all hell breaks loose. I think that’s about as far as I can take the plot description without ruining anything for you. So here’s the good: monsters, comedy, thrills, chills, and kills. The bad: no Simon Pegg.
Seriously, I thought this was a phenomenal movie. First of all, it’s British. There is something refreshing about watching a UK made flick. They just have a different approach to movie making. Not wildly, I can’t watch this, Ang Lee making the Hulk different. Fun different. I love deadpan comedy, especially in small doses. So it’s a treat to have them juxtapose the bits of dry British humor with heart-pounding creature action. Seriously, I was impressed with how they handled the monster business. They took the most frightening part of a wild animal, the gnashing teeth, and combined it with the scariest part of a thriller movie, the unknown. It’s pretty impressive if you wrap your head around the idea of day-glow demon chompers.
Even though I’m not always a fan of movies boasting a majority of young cast members, I thought these guys did a damn good job and displayed some impressive acting chops. I thought they showed pretty good range, and handled themselves ably and believably across the emotional and cinematic gamut. Some characters you love, and others you love to hate. But I didn’t feel a weak link in the chain, and always felt drawn into the overall experience. Watch this movie if you’re looking for something fun, thrilling, and a little gruesome.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!