Attack the Block
Plays for scares more than laughs, and succeeds admirably
Joe Cornish's directorial debut stars Jodie Whitaker and John Boyega
Coming from the same production team as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs the World, this confident debut from Joe Cornish (one half of duo Adam and Joe) is much less a comedy than might have been expected. Rather it’s a very accomplished sci-fi horror, and a properly exciting one at that, evidencing Cornish’s clear love of the genre classics from its atmospheric synth soundtrack to its flourishes of gory splatter.
Sitting between Aliens and Gremlins in terms of tone, the story straddles reality and fantasy as a gang of errant teenagers attempt to defend their inner-city tower block against an army of bloodthirsty alien monsters. Cornish’s breathlessly-paced script entwines thrilling action set-pieces with a gently provocative portrayal of urban youth, effectively challenging audience preconceptions while never letting up on the entertainment. It’s sporadically funny (most often when accurately skewering the attitudes of modern teenagers) but the science-fiction scenario is played straight rather than as parody, and as the body count rises Cornish generates palpable tension and scares. Despite shaky acting from some of the young cast, leads Jodie Whitaker and newcomer John Boyega are excellent, providing strong characters amidst the action.
General release from Fri 13 May.