The directorial debut of BBC 6 Music radio presenter Attack The Block is a pleasant surprise. Written and directed by Joe Cornish, the film begins with a group of hoodies – lead by Moses (John Boyega), Pest (Alex Esmail), Dennis (Franz Drameh), Jerome (Leeon Jones) and Biggz (Simon Howard) – mugging a trainee nurse Sam (Jodie Whittaker) on a South London council estate on Bonfire night.
Suddenly, a fiery object falls from the sky, crashing through the roof of a parked car near them. When they investigate, the youths discover a mysterious furry black creature, which they promptly beat to death and take to the 19th floor flat of local drug dealer Ron (Nick Frost) for identification purposes.
Soon afterwards a dozens of furry black creatures with glow-in-the-dark fang teeth are converging on their tower block and the gang will have to join forces with Sam, a stoner Brewis (Luke Treadaway) and local gangster Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter) in order to fight them off.
It may sounds surreal, but Joe Cornish’s debut film is actually quite good. With an unique street lingo – Cornish spent a year in South London researching on urban culture and language to make the dialogue between the hoodies as affective as possible – Attack The Block is a highly independent film intertwining between youth culture of Broken Britain, sci-fi horror and black comedy.
The young cast of newcomers acquit themselves well. Jodie Whittaker is also good and the amusing comic support from Luke Treadaway and Nick Frost provides light relief in moments of tension and fear.
As for the aliens – furry, black with luminous teeth – the design do look basic but were visually effective in some scenes. The only negative point I would like to make is that the script could have been better.
Despite that Attack the Block is lively and entertaining throughout. Well done Dr Sexy on your latest film!