I wasn’t attracted to Attack the Block as an Adam and Joe follower; I was just that bit too young to fully appreciate their Channel 4 comedy The Adam and Joe Show. So I approached this British horror-comedy recognizing only the genre poster-boy, Nick Frost. Despite failing to conquer one particular genre (straddling multiple ones instead), Cornish’s debut is as luminous as the neon teeth of the block’s latest residents. It isn’t quite a horror, nor a full out comedy, and in hindsight feels more like a pastiche of a sci-fi, but nonetheless Attack the Block is refreshing and smart, and totally down with the kids (ya get me)
We first meet Moses (John Boyega) and his hoody-happy gang as they callously mug newly qualified nurse Sam (Jodie Whittaker) in a South London estate. As the night unfolds, and the jet-black aliens begin catapulting to Earth, the paths of the gang and Sam are set to cross again. But unlike the bad eggs of Noel Clarke’s Kidulthood or Adulthood, these disaffected teens are quickly transformed into Block-saving heroes. The jokes aren’t thick and fast, but those offered are chucklesome and often socially perceptive. As Pest (Alex Esmail) roots through Sam’s stolen purse he crumples at the fact she is a nurse; ‘they don’t earn nothing’. The usual safety of flashing police lights or a uniform mean nothing here; in the world of the Block the Police are as monstrous as the outer-space creatures.
Attack the Block feels incredibly unique; never have chavs been immortalized in a such a warm-hearted fashion, and never have spine-tingling Carpenter-esque creations scaled an unsightly council estate. Yes, it’s a very British affair, yet certainly not what you’d expect from a British film. The film flies in the face of two things very much under attack at the moment – British creativity, and yoofs from council estates. On both counts, Cornish demonstrates that with a little belief, a lot can be achieved. He isn’t alone, as Richard Ayoade already exhibited this year with the fairly sublime Submarine. Although not a triumph, Attack the Block is plain old good fun, with a satisfying moral lining