Tuesday, 24 May 2011

REVIEW: Attack The Block

Allow it.

So to the second horror film released by Film Four by a comedian, who doesn't really want to make a comedy but does a little bit in the first half before abandoning that to make a straight up dramatic horror in the second half. That is my spectacularly inelegant way of saying that Attack The Block and its elder sibling Shaun Of The Dead share more then a passing resemblance. If anything though, Attack The Block is even less comedic then Edgar Wright's film. Which I think is what it had to do to avoid being anything other then ridiculous and condescending. What could have very easily been a pretty awful 'lets laugh at the hoodies' horror comedy is a pleasingly earnest, straight up horror movie, not afraid to be dark nor bloody.

The premise, something that upon hearing made me recoil somewhat, is essentially Hoodies vs. Aliens, but I think the main reason I liked the movie is how it approached its main character, Moses. Neither softened as a threat nor marginalized for comedy, Moses gets to be both a threatening presence at the movie's opening and a pretty badass hero by its end, largely thanks to a fantastically commanding performance by John Boyega. In many ways more then Joe Cornish's script or the supporting performances by more celebrated actors, Boyega carries the movie through and through. If anything I thought Nick Frost and Jodie Whittaker's presence here was a little extraneous, Frost more so. Playing a character that barely belongs in the story at all and makes you wonder if he's here solely to get Nick Frost in the trailer. There is some good supporting work from pretty much all the young cast, plus a strong performance by Jumayn Hunter as the film's human antagonist Hi-Hatz.

Cornish does put together a number of solid sequences of horror, and isn't afraid to heroes as well as villains. I do think we can get carried away in this country, when a British film looks better then the average episode of The Bill, but this did look pretty good, with a number of strong visual sequences that would be impressive in a higher budgeted film then this. But it is a bit scatty, with too many characters here for no reason, that serve to distract rather then provide something, and I think the gravitas of the second half does lessen the slightly looser first half in hindsight. A film I honestly enjoyed much more then I expected, possibly its my horror movie weak spot, but fuck was this fun.

Rating: 6/10

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