Joe “of Adam and Joe fame” Cornish’s first feature film, Attack The Block is a very original horror comedy and a hell of a lot of fun.
The premise; a group of alien creatures attack a council estate in South London, namely one gang of ‘yoofs’ as an act of revenge after they kill the first alien to land in the area. It’s essentially Hoodies vs Aliens.
The film is sort of a mash up of The Warriors and The Thing, set in the tough inner city of Noel Clarke’s Kidulthood. As well as Cornish the film was the feature debut for most of the young actors, the cinematographer Thomas Townend and composer Steven Price from British dance duo Basement Jaxx.
Not that you would notice, the performances are pretty spot on and display a good comic delivery of Joe’s sharp script, which includes all the mundane things of being a teenager such as running out of phone credit and lying to your parents, even though you are under attack by an alien invasion. The film takes place all in one night; Bonfire night and it has a subtle yet effective visual style utilizing firework smoke in several scenes. There is some impressive slow-motion work and a fair few nice crane, steady-cam and dolly shots. The score is fittingly bassy, gritty and urban though Price clearly knows when to bring in the string section in for the heroic moments.
The film should hark Cornish as a new player in British filmmaking, and with Spielberg’s Tintin coming out later this year and the forthcoming superhero movie Antman, both he co-wrote the screenplay for with Edgar Wright, Hollywood will no doubt come knocking for hoping to tap him up to direct a bigger film.
I thoroughly enjoyed Attack, it gets the balance between horror and comedy is just right. There are enough laugh out loud moments to keep comedy fans entertained, though not so many to make the jump out of your seat shocks seem cheesy. It should be noted that Cornish is not just making fun of the ‘hoodie or gang’ culture and throughout the film the policing of areas such as the block is questioned. There is just a touch of satire whenever the police appear, though this may be slightly lost amongst everything else going on. Though who needs satire, when you have some cracking one liners and some entertaining fight scenes with aliens?
Not this reviewer for sure.
★★★★ | Michael Hill
Sci-Fi, Action, Comedy | UK, 2011 | 15 | Cinema | May 11, 2011(UK) | Studiocanal | Dir: Joe Cornish | Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker , Luke Treadaway, John Boyega