Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
While most films want to give viewers a cuddly protagonist to root for, when we first meet the heroes of Attack the Block they’re mugging an innocent woman. Their next act involves deciding they need to kill whatever wild thing attacked their leader, Moses. It turns out that wild thing was an alien, and after the gang takes care of business, all hell breaks loose. At first, part of you is a little unsure of which side you should be on, but as more and more of who the thugs are is revealed you come to realize who the good guys are, even if they aren’t all good.
This is one of the many unique aspects of Attack the Block that makes it such a great movie. Another element is the aliens themselves. Done on a budget of roughly $13 million, there wasn’t a lot of money to be spent on Avatar-like special effects. Instead, the creators of Attack the Block created their alien, and the terror surrounding it, by utilizing the power of “less is more.” We never actually see the full makeup of the aliens. We see big pitch black outlines that can be construed as having fur, or spikes, and glowing sets of teeth that reveal them in the dark. This adds to the sense of terror because we truly have no idea what they are, and if it’s dark, where they are.
The “block” the aliens are attacking is the building the boys, and the woman they mugged, live in. In the building we also meet a stoner, a weed grower, and a gang leader, all of whom play a part in the plot, but revealing their roles would be considered a spoiler, and that’s not my style.
As the movies progresses we find out more about our group of reckless youths, including how old they are, where they’re from, and what they’re involved in. Their victim also has to deal with the realization that this group of young men who earlier in the evening took her wallet and ring, might, in fact, be the good guys in this situation, and might not be nearly as bad as their actions would have led her, or anyone, to believe.
The movie really kicks into high gear, though, when it comes to the fights with the aliens. Again, the smaller budget actually helps create terror and suspense because without scary visuals to rely on, Attack the Block utilizes the fear of the unknown. There’s an especially great scene where the group is stalking down a smoke filled hallway, unable to see more than a few inches in front of them, but knowing there are aliens somewhere in the hall. That kind of terror is far better than the “scary looking alien” kind. It’s real suspense, and it’s really effective. As an added bonus, when the fights do happen, Moses’ weapon of choice is a samurai sword, which provides an awesome visual.
Attack the Block is a movie I will watch again and again, and it’s the rare film where I actually want to see the DVD extras because I’m that interested in it. If you like alien/monster movies, you can’t go wrong with Attack The Block.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.