Remember when you were a teenager and had long, late-night talks with friends in between viewings of 'Predator,' 'Gremlins,' 'The Monster Squad,' or any number of other classic sci-fi/horror/action hybrids, wondering what you would do if aliens, monsters or demons ever invaded your neighborhood? Remember how you debated on end about what weapons you would use, where you'd go to hide and how much inhuman ass you would kick while saving the world? If you answered yes, then prepare to meet the movie of your Mountain Dew fueled dreams: Joe Cornish's 'Attack the Block.'
There's only one catch: Joe Cornish is a better dreamer than you.
Considering 'Attack the Block' is currently without US distribution (an unfortunate circumstance that will hopefully change with a quickness), let's be brief and spoiler-free with the plot specifics: A gang of hoodies from South London come across an alien species that has crash landed in their neighborhood. Given that this is a group of punks that don't even tolerate people that live a few streets over, they naturally don't take too kindly to being invaded by extraterrestrials with a nasty set of chompers. With a severe distrust of adults in the back pocket of their baggy jeans, the gang then take it upon themselves to rid their block of this unearthly swarm.
That should be all you need to know to know whether or not 'Attack the Block' sounds like your kind of movie. If that's not enough, however, how about this happy bomb: it was also produced by 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Scott Pilgrim' director Edgar Wright. That should give you an idea of the kind of energy on display in 'ATB'-- but only an idea. As great of a draw Edgar Wright's name is bound to be for fans, though, this is the awe-inspiring, totally unique product of a series of seriously talented unknowns (save for the presence of a few familiar faces, like the always lovable Nick Frost).
Not only is 'Attack the Block' the feature debut of Joe Cornish, but it also boasts a first-time cinematographer (Thomas Townend), a gang of first-time actors plucked from the streets of London (John Boyega, Franz Drameh, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones and many more) and a score from first-time feature composers Steven Price and Basement Jaxx. Adding together how many firsts that is, it's mind blowing how veteran the entire production seems. All of the talents in 'Attack the Block' join together so harmoniously, it seems unbelievable to even consider that this was a virgin experience for almost everyone involved.
You can also tack on another first for the flick thanks to the creature design. It won't be spoiled here, but it's the kind of so-simple-its-brilliant work that filmmakers the world over are bound to watch it and do a face palm wondering why they didn't think to do it themselves. Combine the memorable design with the fact that it's a struggle to discern what was done practically and what was done digitally, fans of creature features will have plenty to swoon over. Add on Cornish's astounding ability to create a gang of anti-heroes you can't help but cheer for - particularly when things get extra violent - and this is the kind of genre greatness that feels like a privilege to be watching.
Some may complain about Cornish's readiness to assault your eyes and eardrums with zero warning, but a few loud bolts from the shadows still shouldn't result in anyone walking away unimpressed. In fact, 'Attack the Block' is so fast paced, the jolts so visceral and the energy so contagious, no one of the right mindset should be walking away from it at all; they should be stumbling away, intoxicated by its perfect genre high.