Attack The Block


It came from outer space, or whaddeva.

Attack The Block review

The British ‘hood movie has gone from near-the-knuckle realism (Kidulthood) to fist-in-the-face parody (Anuvahood) of late, but Attack The Block beams in from a whole new angle.

Billed as ‘Inner City vs. Outer Space’, this feature debut from Joe Cornish (yes, he of The Adam And Joe Show) offers a deliciously simple premise and sticks to it like glue, as hoodies becomes heroes in the midst of one almighty alien invasion.

The block in question is a South London housing estate, which comes under threat from a bunch of fluorescent-jawed ETs that, despite their furry demeanour, are about as cuddly as a box of porcupines. They’re peeved that local teen thug Moses (John Boyega) and his gang killed one of their own after it crash-landed on their manor.

Soon enough, the block is swarming with the blighters – forcing Moses and his massive to defend their turf.

Along for the ride is trainee nurse neighbour Sam (Jodie Whittaker), reluctantly teaming with the boys despite them mugging her early on, posh pot head Brewis (Luke Treadaway, hilarious) and – when he’s not hiding out in his high-rise skunk factory – local dealer Roy (Nick Frost). From here, the action is relentless – and also repetitive.

What’s lacking is a true sense of escalating peril. True, Cornish manages to conjure some genuine scares from his formless, black-asnight alien critters, but when it’s one after another after another of the same design, returns steadily diminish.

Meanwhile, among the young cast, it’s only the charismatic Boyega who really rises to the challenge. Still, the street slang and pop-culture nods don’t feel forced; rather, witty references to Harry Potter and FIFA video games serve to remind us that these are just kids playing at being adults. And that’s its secret weapon.

After the self-consciously epic, po-faced stylings of Skyline and Battle: Los Angeles, Block sticks it to E.T. with a bracing blast of teen spirit.


However much goodwill you chuck at it, this isn’t quite the instant cult classic you want it to be. But now and then it’s as blinding as those alien gnashers.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • sp4cej0ckey

      May 9th 2011, 17:20

      Made me laugh few weeks back on Film 2011 when Claudia Winkleman was raving like mad about how good this movie is...hmm, wonder if that has something to do with director Joe Cornish being her wedded spouse?? ...Not sure i could stomach to 2hrs of mock cockney-accented little hoodies fighting off fake-looking aliens so i think i'll wait for the dvd thanks

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    • dealernumber1

      May 11th 2011, 0:52

      Joe Cornish is not married to or dating Claudia Winkleman

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    • Shiftybea

      May 16th 2011, 17:46


      'wonder if that has something to do with director Joe Cornish being her wedded spouse??' It doesn't because he isn't. Joe is dating a Scottish lass, he mentions her all the time on his radio show. And I saw the film today and it's quite good. The aliens are actually creepy looking, more than you'd expect. And the kids are not cockneys. You really should get your facts right before dissing a film you haven't even seen......

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    • bassthing

      May 18th 2011, 22:33


      What felt like it should have been a instant classic left me a bit confused at first as to why it wasn’t. For a first time director Cornish definitely has a cinematic eye, there are a couple of scenes which especially remain in my memory and will be a treat for anyone who enjoys cinema. Many of the performances, especially the child actors are impressive. And the creatures are suitably scary. The score is brilliantly Carpenter-esq updated to a modern grimy London. It’s just that the pieces did not gel as a whole. Essentially Attack the Block is suitably scary and funny, but there is something in the middle that is missing. For me, I think Cornish was so wrapped up in making a film that references other films, especially Carpenter, that heart of the film was forgotten. But don’t let me put you off, attack this film with enthusiasm and the reward will be good.

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    • ChrisMac

      May 27th 2011, 12:03


      Hits the upper limit for a 3-star film. Not as good as I thought it would be but not bad either. It really was just an average film with a better-than-average concept. See it on Orange Wednesdays so you don't feel robbed.

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    • moviegeek2000

      Jul 17th 2011, 9:40

      It’s hard to know what the target audience for this film is supposed to be. The Horror fans would have seen it all before, the US kids will be put off by the accents, the snobby/arty elite will certainly find it all a bit too silly to care about its message, but I must confess, I came to it with very few expectations and even though it took me way too long to get into it (it's hard to care or sympathise with kids who in the beginning are shown assaulting and mugging people), once I was finally with it, I actually found it all rather enjoyable for the its slightly trashy fake-B-movie sensibility (but a lot more clever than it claims it is), its mix of horror and humour (though not incredibly funny, nor too scary) and its retro-80s sensibility and in the end I was happy I saw it. MY FULL REVIEW on my BLOG

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    • ChrisWootton

      Jun 27th 2012, 14:34


      Finally saw this on TV the other night. After constantly slagging off the trailers etc I have to say that I am currently eating my (only) hat. Really enjoyed it.. the pacing is excellent (I swore I'd give it at least ten minutes before turning over but found it very entertaining). Very interested in seeing what Mr Cornish (and not Winkleman) will do next. I'm giving it 4 stars as I feel so out of order for slagging it off before I'd seen it.

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