Tuesday, 17 May 2011


On TV's Adam and Joe Show, Joe Cornish spent the late nineties mucking about with toys, creating pantwettingly inspired homages to Hollywood blockbusters (Toytanic anyone?). In 2011, the toybox has been put away for the writer-director's first feature, though his demented imagination is still enjoyably manifest in this darkly playful horror, chronicling an alien invasion on a South London housing estate.

  Following a quintet of disaffected, but resourceful teenage 'hoodies,' defending their block from 'big alien gorilla wolf motherf***ers,' Attack... blisteringly mixes thrills, chills and astute social commentary.  By encouraging empathy with weed-worshipping, sweary chav hooligans, Attack... feels like an odd crossbreed of Larry Clark's Kids and Aliens, filtered through Mike Skinner's bong water. The result is an exhilarating sci-fi siege actioner with riveting action sequences, involving fireworks, mopeds, even supersoakers. An air of daftness permeates, but a tense standoff in a police van provides good scares, while a smoke-filled corridor chase is more frantically bollock-tightening than riding Nemesis with a dodgy seatbelt.

  This is accomplished, potent filmmaking, assisted by an ethereal, grimy score. The estate is lit like an eerie J-Horror nightmare, while the creatures themselves are effectively fearsome, all spiky hair and teeth.
A commanding performance from newcomer John Boyega as gangleader Moses impresses, with Nick Frost's amusingly befuddled skunkhead bringing laughs, while Jodie Whittaker's downtrodden nurse is spiky, kicking ass to save the day. 
Attack... makes apparent Cornish's affection for classics like Predator and E.T.,  and his debut is an adrenalising thrill-ride that can comfortably sit alongside them. Tremendous fun, without being too silly, Attack The Block is a refreshingly unpretentious work - he's come a long way since Saving Private Lion.

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