Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Movie #299: Attack the Block

Attack the Block is a sci-fi horror movie starring John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, Franz Drameh, Simon Howard, Luke Treadaway, and Nick Frost.

On Guy Fawkes' Day, a gang of kids from "the Ends," a fictional south London block, are roaming their neighborhood making trouble. They mug a nurse named Sam (Whittaker), and shortly thereafter what seems to be a meteor flattens a car nearby. They investigate, and their leader, Moses (Boyega) is attacked by a small but vicious alien creature.

They follow it and kick it to death, and stow it in the armor "weed room" of their friend Ron (Frost) and drug dealer Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter). But then more aliens land...and these aliens are gorilla-sized and full of nasty teeth.

The kids fight back as best they can, fall back into the building, and lose a couple of their number. They eventually figure it out; the first thing they killed was a female leave a scent trail for the larger males to follow.

I really enjoyed this movie. It's a well-done horror movie; there are some scenes with some nice tension, and the monsters are a nice mix between monstrous and alien. The protagonists are kids, and that's relevant to me, and the movie doesn't really pull punches with making the risk real - two of the kids die, and we don't have the "out" of having the kids that die be kids that were especially violent to Sam. Moses has a few poignant moments (he theorizes that the government sent these monsters in to kill black boys, since they weren't killing each other fast enough, which in light of current events is somewhat topical), and the Block and the surrounding area is well-realized and, by the end of the movie, familiar. Sam, also, acts as our POV character in some places, a voice of reason in others - she lives in the Block, but she's not from there, and she clearly doesn't get how it works.

But at the same time, "that's how it works here" isn't an out. Moses' friends point our that actions have consequences - Moses is arrested for mugging Sam, and he learns that it was his insistence on killing the first alien that made the rest of them attack.

All in all, good stuff, one of the better recent horror movies I've seen.

My Grade: A-
Rewatch value: Medium-high

Next Up: Idiocracy