Urban culture dominates so many forms of entertainment, but in the horror ans sci-fi genres we fall short.
Tales from the Hood?
Not a chance. Thankfully it takes the Brits to give is a tasteful horror film in an Urban Setting.
Attack the Block is the lastest film from Big Talk Productions, known mainly for English films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Just like Shaun, Block is a mixture of cheeky British humor, horror, and drama in a way that only the Brits can. Who else can make an alien attack on South London seem funny.
Block begins with a rather cliched premise–a White nurse living in a Council Estate gets robbed by a gang of urban hoods. During the robbery, however an alien drops from the sky (it sounds better in the movie than the explanation however), and the gang of youths seek to kill the leader of the alien tribe, setting off a rather nasty chain of events as a veritable shit ton of dog-like aliens throw down and seek revenge.
Yep, the plot is rather thin, but what saves the movie is the characters. Led by the acting of unlikeable hero Moses (John Boyega), the rag tag group of kids are almost–and dare I saw this–adorable. Unlike their leader moses, the kids are portrayed more as paper gangsters inspired by old school American rap videos than cold blooded killers. What’s great about the actors is their near perfect comedic timing leading me to believe that many of them are classically trained but actually most had never acted before. Add to that the classic British sarcasm provided by none other than Simon Pegg collaborator Nick Frost.
The film was a respectable hit in its native country, but the question remains…will it successfully be able to cross the pond? From the reaction at SXSW and in the private Sony Pictures screening room where I saw the film the answer is yes. If you’re a fan of Shaun or Hot Fuzz you will be right at home (although this film falls short of the two) and those unfamilliar with the nuances of British humor caught on quick.
Attack The Block opens this Friday, July 29th in limited release.