Movie #2: Attack The Block

Were you a fan of 80s “creature features”? Y’know, B-movie horrors like Gremlins, Ghoulies, CHUD, Arachnophobia or even more serious ones like Alien? Well, this movie is a great throwback to those kinds of scary, fun flics. It all takes place on a single night in a south London housing project nicknamed “The Block”. As a bunch of punk kids are mugging a young woman, suddenly something bright hurtles from the sky and destroys a parked car right next to them. She runs away (but we haven’t seen the last of her) and the gang decides to look inside the wreckage for a bit of investigation. A weird creature, mostly mouth and teeth but no eyes, attacks the gang leader, Moses, and scurries away. While his face is scratched, it’s mostly his pride that is hurt so Moses leads his posse to track the creature down. They find it hiding in a shed (echoes of E.T., anyone?) but instead of feeding it colourful candies, they decide to kill it and take its carcass as a trophy. Unfortunately, that’s not the end of things as other lights start raining down on the block and bigger (like gorillas without eyes), badder (triple sets of teeth that glow in the dark), blacker (darker than night) creatures start to arrive. Moses and the gang’s troubles are far from over as they get on the bad side of everyone from the police, to the local drug dealer, to their girls, to their moms (not to mention the screeching monsters from space). As the night goes on and people start getting killed, they decide to fight back and Moses finds not only his pride again, but a heroic amount of courage as well. While I had trouble with the accents and the slang at first, there was quite a bit of humour in the dialogue and the characters. As young teenagers, they fearlessly crack jokes even amidst the horror around them. Add to that a bit of comic relief from a couple of even younger kids who decide to emulate the older kids by hunting aliens with their super-soakers, and also (less funny more cliche) from a stoner-hippy played by Nick Frost. This movie is fun and well-paced. As you’d expect from a creature feature, there were many predictable “cat-jump” moments that made me bounce back on the sofa anyway (maybe it was the effect of those glowing teeth). For the last several years, horror and genre movies have been a lot about reboots and reinventions, and while Attack The Block is hardly a cinematically-ambitious film, it’s exactly the kind of fresh, mindless, thrilling, humourous reboot that this genre needs. (4.5 out of 5)

2 down, 48 to go!

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