As "Attack the Block" slowly stretched its way across America, it was clear the movie was a cult flick in the making. A monster movie on the streets of London, the film stars a young cast of unknowns playing hoodlums who, in the midst of mugging a young woman, are attacked by an alien which crashes to Earth. After they chase the alien down and kill it, they soon find themselves attacked by larger, more deadly aliens and end up fighting for their lives.
It is not an easy task taking the idea of a group of teenage thugs and making them likable but director Joe Cornish handles the plot like an expert; by the end it is easy to find yourself cheering for these kids and even lamenting the ones who don't make it. This is only slightly surprising from Cornish, making his feature length debut. He comes from the school of Edgar Wright and even uses one of Wright's core actors, Nick Frost, in a minor role. It is also clear where Cornish's influences come from.
The few people who actually criticize "Attack the Block" talk about it being difficult to cheer for the teenagers after watching them mug and rob a young nurse as she walks home. There is even a line in the movie where they say they wouldn't have done it if they knew she lived in their block. There are few movies out there that better emphasize following a group of unlikable youngsters than "Trainspotting."
This movie, directed by future Oscar-winner Danny Boyle and starring Ewan McGregor in one of his early roles, follows a group of heroin addicts as they live life in '90s-era Britain. From the eclectic dialect to the thought of our heroes living the life of crime, the movie serves as a template for this type of antihero.
"Shaun of the Dead"
Seeing that the only name actor in the entire movie is Nick Frost should tell you all you need to know about "Attack the Block." Frost, along with Simon Pegg, served as director Edgar Wright's muses through much of his career. While Pegg has moved on to America to become a bigger star, Frost seems to have been forgotten.
However, 2011 sees Frost star in two alien invasion movies: the comedy "Paul" and this movie, with fellow British filmmaker Cornish. It is not Frost's first time to deal with monsters, also starring in Wright's "Shaun of the Dead," a love letter to zombie movies. While Frost's appearance brings Wright to mind, it is clear to see where Cornish gets his love for horror cinema.
"Assault on Precinct 13"
Before John Carpenter became famous for his slasher masterpiece "Halloween," he made the low-budget horror thriller "Assault on Precinct 13." The movie itself is a remake of the classic western "Rio Bravo" and features moments paying homage to the zombie classic "Night of the Living Dead." All of those movies feature a group of people trapped in a specific location while beings surround the location, lay siege, and attempt to get in to kill them.
In "Assault on Precinct 13," the danger focuses on a police department and a group of bad guys who end up fighting for their lives. "Attack the Block" is another siege movie as the alien monsters attack the block, looking for the gang who killed one of their own. Cornish pays tribute to many movies but, in the end, creates something uniquely its own.
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- Nick Frost
- Edgar Wright