The aliens, literally, attack the block of council housing, trapping the residents in their homes with only the team of teen warriors to save them. Unlikely heroes though they may seem, the characters are each loveable and believable. Matching street smarts and ingenuity, the members fight aliens with crude, everyday tools, without a typical gun or knife at hand.
The cast is led by John Boyega, who makes his film debut as the gang's stalwart leader Moses. Boyega is agile, handsome, and talented. Boyega's performance isimpassioned and emotional, with him moving effortlessly from menacing to vulnerable.
"It's based on having great characters. If you care about the characters and you care about the journey you are able to release yourself and get lost in the story. It's just so fun, like you get involved in the situation as an audience member and put yourself in it," Boyega said.
Reminiscent of Noel Clarke's Kidulthood / Adulthood films, Attack the Block invites stateside viewers into council housing, and the lives of rambunctious teens. The language is peppered with British youth slang and euphemism, but rest assured, no subtitles are needed. And though classified as a gang, the alien chasers are more a threat to themselves than the people around them.
The dialogue of the film is insightful, adroit, and at times, quirky, but never preachy or stereotypical. In fact, in one scene Cornish has the exhausted Moses sigh in frustration, "White people sent these aliens in here to get us. We weren't killing each other quick enough. First it was the drugs, then the weapons, now it's aliens."
As for the aliens, they are frightening. Cornish forces audiences to learn about the aliens and their habits as the characters themselves do, making for a great and suspenseful ride. Audiences jumped in fear, cried with laughter, and reached behind their seats to offer 'high fives' to other viewers.
In addition to Boyega, stand out performances are given by Alex Esmail (Pest), and Luke Treadaway (Brewis), who become likeable characters despite major character flaws.
Attack the Block, was distributed on 8 screens by Screen Gems as a British import last week and earned $130,000. This comes out to an impressive $16,250 per screen-- nearly twice the per-screen take of that other alien movie out in theaters this weekend.
In the end, Cornish describes the secret to Attack the Block's amazing success as a perfect mixture of movie additives.
"The thing about Attack The Block is that hopefully it works as just a crazy monster mashup movie and a chase film and a mini-blockbuster, but there's also a little bit of roughage, a little bit of fiber, a little bit of sugary goodness," Cornish said.
Check local listings for theaters and screening times. For more information about Attack the Block, visit www.attacktheblock.com .