Attack the Block. Starring Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega and Luke Treadaway. Directed by Joe Cornish. 88 minutes, Rated MA 15+ (Strong violence and coarse language).
Seems as though this film has already achieved ‘cult status’ after its release in Britain. With Nick Frost appearing in it, it is instantly linked with Shaun of the Dead, one of his best-known films, with its blend of humour, horror and spoofing of horror conventions. This is what Attack the Block is attempting as well.
Of course, it depends on your sense of humour and whether you are ‘blown away’ by small-budget films which highlight their poverty while being ambitious in their intentions. While some of it is amusing, Attack the Block seemed too silly to make the cult impression.
On an ordinary London evening, a woman is harassed by a local gang. Alarmed, she rushes to her building. In the meantime, some aliens drop out of the sky. So, we are in the spoof alien invaders territory which is not necessarily a bad thing.
But, the black puffball aliens with translucent blue eyes seem to be an admittance of no budget for real effects and seem quite ludicrous (which they are partly meant to be). The invasion multiplies as local authorities try to do combat, the aliens climb walls and get into the apartment block. The gang, as well as a local slacker calling in to get drugs from his dealer (Nick Frost) are terrified and enlist the aid to the woman they were attacking. In fact, they are just a gang of local kids who are still at school.
Most of the kids are not the brightest and several of them are knocked off by the aliens. This means that the film builds up to a climax (not too bad) for final confrontations.
Probably best seen at one of those midnight cult sessions.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Released December 1, 2011.