Attack The Block

1 h 28 min2011X-RayR
A South London teenage gang finds itself on the front lines of an alien invasion - battling ferocious monsters with any weapon they can. Humor, thrills and plenty of gore in the best B-movie tradition!
Joe Cornish
Nick FrostJohn BoyegaJodie Whittaker
Science FictionComedyAction
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Alex EsmailLuke TreadawayLeeon JonesJoey AnsahSimon HowardFranz DramehJumayn Hunter
Nira ParkJames Wilson
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Violencesubstance usesmokingfoul language
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4.5 out of 5 stars

3245 global ratings

  1. 72% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

rvhReviewed in the United States on November 24, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
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Finally got this on Blu ray...such a great movie...a real gem...!!! was in great shape and played perfectly...
H. BalaReviewed in the United States on November 24, 2011
4.0 out of 5 stars
"Moses! Ninja!"
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Months later, my first vivid memory when someone mentions ATTACK THE BLOCK is of how it generated more good buzz than COWBOYS & ALIENS, another sci-fi feature which shared the same box office debut date, stateside (July 29, 2011). Except that COWBOYS & ALIENS lacked what ATTACK THE BLOCK brought to the table: a certain vitality, a sense of suspense, and an exuberant young cast that's years away from being jaded. So, yeah, if you're expecting loads of Nick Frost in this picture, be aware now that he's in only for several cameo appearances, what amounts to pretty much a supporting role. And, word to the wise, unlike previous films featuring Nick Frost, this one isn't a spoofy film. Or not blatantly anyway. Director Joe Cornish opts for a more straight-up sci-fi action thriller. With good bits of comedy. But characters fall victim to alien predations and there are moments of icky blood-letting and gore. Which to me are strong selling points.

ATTACK THE BLOCK pits a crew of teenaged hoods against a localized alien invasion. The film's skimpy budget couldn't at all afford epic. In South London, on Guy Fawkes Night, as lights and sparklers festoon the atmosphere, Moses and and his street gang go about the business of mischief. A nurse named Sam (Jodie Whittaker), who lives in the neighborhood, is their latest victim, to the tune of a mugging. But then a meteorite hurtles down to earth, smashing onto a nearby automobile and so Sam, she makes her getaway.

I guess you can blame the ringleader Moses (John Boyega, memorable). Moses is stoic and intense and not afraid to take matters into his own hands. He ends up offing an extraterrestrial - because in sci-fi films, chances are good that meteorites are actually vehicles for space aliens. Moses's action ushers in the plummeting of more meteorites, and true to sci-fi trope, more alien creatures emerge, this time a pack of jet black, furry monsters. These predatory things, exhibiting cruel bioluminescent fangs and an aura of sheer menace, evince a marked lacked of intelligence, as demonstrated by one creature's sheer inability to open a friggin' dumpster. It's actually rather sweet that our "heroes," witnessing these meteorites descending onto their South London housing projects, get all excited about killing off more aliens.

Director Joe Cornish purposely introduces these disenfranchised inner city youths to look as threatening as possible. The kids are fully hooded up and masked, silhouetted in shadow, ominous. Every suburban yuppie's nightmare. As the story progresses, we see the kids remove their layers, and we get a peek into their personalities and individual ticks. It's nothing new, but Cornish frames these characters really well and the kid actors are lively and likable, once the masks come off. And when the chips are down, they don't hesitate to stand together, to protect their block. And they go about this armed with baseball bats and samurai swords and near-cryptic South London slang. Doesn't anyone just say "Crikey!" anymore?

COWBOYS & ALIENS, with its mega-budget, doesn't come close to being as watchable as ATTACK THE BLOCK which goes to show that, sometimes, you really hone in on what's important when limited to meager resources. The film makes do with generous application of practical effects and by opting for a big bad alien that's conducive to cutting cost. And, yeah, the film could've been funnier. It could've been scarier. But this film didn't intend to be another SHAUN OF THE DEAD. It's its own entity and comes with its own sense of dynamism. Cornish infuses the screen with smarts and heart and lots of energy, abetted by cinematographer Thomas Townend's vivid imagery and Basement Jaxx's throbbing score. And the kids, again, lend their own vibrancy and great enthusiasm; their interactions are highlight scenes for me. This is some refreshing take on ye olde space alien invasion, with attitude to burn and urban jungle ethics and braggadocio on full exhibit. Er, not that I condone folks getting mugged or pants being worn so low that your crack shows.

The DVD's bonus stuff:

- Audio Commentary with writer/director Joe Cornish with kid actors John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Simon Howard and Leeon Jones
- Audio Commentary with Joe Cornish and grown-up actors Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, and Nick Frost
- Audio Commentary with Joe Cornish and executive producer Edgar Wright
- "BEHIND THE BLOCK Behind the Scenes Documentary" (01:01:00 minutes long)
- "Creature Feature: Special Effects" - spotlight on creating the alien invaders (00:19:36 minutes)
- "Meet the Gang" - the kid actors introduce their characters (00:03:56)
- "Unfilmed Action - Unfilmed Sequences from the Movie" - Joe Cornish and teen actor Alex Esmail talk about scenes that were omitted; this feature partly with storyboards (00:04:45)
- "That's a Rap" - Fun with the kids on set as they try to rap (00:02:15)
- the UK trailer and the US Red-Band trailer
3 people found this helpful
STEPHANIE CASTROReviewed in the United States on October 19, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
fantastic, funny and scary
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John Boyega steals every scene he is in. love this film!
joel wingReviewed in the United States on February 10, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Amazing and original sci-fi film featuring inner city kids as the heroes
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This movie blew me away when I first saw it.

First off you have no idea what it’s about initially. It starts with Sam played by Jodie Whitaker walking home and being mugged by a group of teens led by Moses played by John Boyega. While taking her belongings a meteor crashes into a car. Inside is a tiny little alien which the kids kill. Later they see more coming down and they think it’s a big game to kill the “Little Gremlins” as they call them. It turns out the second wave of aliens are much bigger and deadlier and chase the teens throughout the movie.

The monsters are also really well done. They are big fury black beasts which you can hardly see in the dark except when they open their mouths and their big glowing teeth are exposed.

The movie is not your usual sci-fi film either. There’s plenty of comedy as well such as when one of the kids said he made a big mistake chasing the aliens and would rather be home playing FIFA on his Play Station. Or when slacker Brewis played by Luke Treadaway tells his drug dealer Ron played by Nick Frost about how he can’t make enough money to pay rent even though he still lives at home with his parents for free.

There’s also social commentary. The kids are all working class, and mostly black from West Indian parents. They live in a big low income housing complex called “The Block” hence the movie’s name. At the end, Moses saves the day and yet gets arrested because they think he’s a thug. Sam tries to explain to the police that Moses was actually the one that saved the entire block, but they don’t listen. To them, he’s just a black criminal. All the block residents start chanting his name because they know the truth that he’s the hero and the police are working on stereotypes about blacks.

Finally, there's some blood and gore thrown in there for good measure when the aliens attack people.

This is a really amazing movie with a lot of twists, laughs and messages going on.
27 people found this helpful
Avid readerReviewed in the United States on August 11, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
"I missed the class on alien bite wounds."
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This movie will turn off a lot of people quickly, and that is too bad. At the start, a group of street punks mug a young woman, and they fit the type of neighborhood hoods that are at the bottom of society. And they run the area on motorbikes and bicycles. But during the mugging, something from space lands, and out comes an alien creature. The creatures are a bit inventive. Anyway, more and more of them come down, killing and hunting the gang, who hole up in the building (block). One of them gets bitten, and they break into a woman’s apartment, and it turns out she is a nurse, and the woman they mugged. (That is where I got the heading of my review). Once one gets over the stereotypes, it turns out these are not terrible kids, and there actually isn’t that much foul language. They are not terrible kids, but they are involved in a lot of petty crime, so they are not angels. But they are fighting for their lives. There actually is a lot of dry humor, and it really has the appearance of being realistic for the flats and the people living there. What is interesting is that once they figure out they are in real danger, out comes a lot of different weapons that could be used to defend themselves. And being in England, they aren’t all having guns. I was really pleasantly surprised, as this is a very different alien invasion type of movie. These may be kids that society has put on the bottom rung, but they know how to survive.
7 people found this helpful
Kathy CunninghamReviewed in the United States on November 5, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Much more than an alien invasion movie -- this one is "must see"
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Joe Cornish's ATTACK THE BLOCK is a great alien invasion film that isn't really about aliens at all. Sure, it's got aliens. But it's about the kids - it's about anger and rage and disappointment and what it feels like to grow up disenfranchised and disrespected and lost and hopeless. Fifteen-year-old Moses is bitter and looks much older than he really is. He lives alone with his ne'er-do-well uncle in a ghetto neighborhood in London. He and his hoodie friends roam the streets attacking innocent passersby, talking trash, and hiding from the cops. We don't like Moses or his friends - they reminded me of Alex and his "droogs" in Kubric's "Clockwork Orange." But as the film progresses we come to suspect that Moses is a product of the world in which he lives. "Actions have consequences," Joe Cornish tells us in this film. Moses's decision to attack a young woman named Sam and his decision to track and kill a strange creature that slashes his face have consequences - and those consequences are horrible. But at the same time, Moses himself is seen as the consequence of so many other people's actions - his uncle who is "here and there" but mostly missing; the police who seem clueless and incompetent; the adults who should be role models but who are selling drugs or shooting up the place. We don't like Moses, but we come to understand him. And actor John Boyega is amazing playing this young man. He's anger personified, but there's so much more there under the surface. Boyega's eyes alone communicate a world of emotion and experience.

All that said, I must admit that the aliens themselves are a bit disappointing. We see very little of the first alien until it's dead, and even then we never get a good look at it (I didn't mind that so much - in fact Cornish might have been wise to follow this same plan for the rest of the film as well). The second wave of aliens, however, presents more of a problem for me. The aliens honestly look like the grass creature things from Shyamalan's "Lady in the Water" ("Scrunts" - sort of big shaggy bear-like creatures with lots of teeth). This is not a good thing. I know this is a low-budget film, so special effects will be limited, but these creatures just don't say "aliens" to me. They were scary and strange, but I couldn't quite see them as traveling through space.

But since I really don't think this movie is about the aliens, I can't complain too much about how they actually look (and maybe Cornish's point is that "aliens" come in many forms and attack from many directions). ATTACK THE BLOCK is an extremely exciting movie about the struggle to remain human in the face of attacks from all sides (and it's not an easy struggle). By the time we get to the film's climax, Moses is no longer the angry fifteen-year-old hoodlum we see in that opening scene. He's changed, and so have we as viewers.

ATTACK THE BLOCK is surprising on many levels. It's worth watching. It's worth buying. I loved it.
2 people found this helpful
Thomas E. DavisReviewed in the United States on February 8, 2012
4.0 out of 5 stars
Fun flick, innit? (But be sure to get the special features!)
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When the producers who brought you the horror comedy "Shawn of the Dead" are involved, you can expect the unexpected. I had a great time watching this clever, creative mashup of urban gang movie and alien invasion thriller, something no one to my knowledge has tried before. It's an auspicious debut by writer-director Joe Cornish and leading man John Boyega.

"Attack the Block" is full of kinetic action, complex characters, amusing dialog, and interesting twists on two genres. Set among the gritty council flats and lower classes of Britain, the film features a band of thugs as protagonists. They behave viciously at first, mugging a nurse in the opening scene, yet she eventually becomes an ally after aliens attack the tower block they share. The hoods evolve into a group that demonstrates ingenuity, bravery, loyalty, and even a kind of nobility in the face of common threats, human and nonhuman.

The talented young cast, most of them complete novices, is thoroughly believable (the only actor you're likely to recognize is Nick Frost, who plays a comical pot grower). Their thick South London dialect and slang may prompt American audiences to turn on subtitles, but that won't interfere with your enjoyment. The furry, jet-black aliens, while not particularly sophisticated as special effects go, are implacably aggressive and genuinely scary as they leap on their victims and tear at them with glowing blue fangs. And what's an alien invasion without a good dose of grisly horror?

A caution: If you order this item from an Amazon Marketplace reseller, you're likely to be shipped a bare-bones rental disc that contains the film and a few trailers but none of the worthwhile special features. Be sure to enquire before ordering whether the DVD on offer includes the bonus material. If so, the extras will be listed on the back cover of the case.

There are three different commentary tracks from the director, producer, and actors, as well as "Behind the Block," an hour-long making-of documentary, and "Creature Feature," a 20-minute look at creating the aliens. Throw in a variety of shorts like "Meet the Gang," focusing on the young actors, and "Unfilmed Action," showing storyboards for scenes never filmed due to budget and time constraints, and you have a very full disc. All told, these features are considerably longer than the film itself and will substantially augment your viewing experience.

This flick is a great ride, both entertaining and satisfying. Get on board, bruv. Trust!
5 people found this helpful
April LReviewed in the United States on September 27, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Not from a low class family? Never looked around and see zero job prospects or a way out?
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Then you probably won't get it. Also, if you don't know where Brixton is, you probably won't get it. If you don't know anything about the Towers scattered about in and near London, you won't get it.

The point is this; The film dives deep into a culture that few know and fewer have escaped from. The hopelessness that pervades government planned housing and cities that have driven out businesses in favour of socialism can only be understood if it is seen. Characters are complicated and social norms are different. Go into this expecting depravity and violence.

That being said, it was wicked fun and class. Great acting from children, a cohesive plot, very interesting baddies, and a good resolution. Are the mains morally corrupt? 100%. Are you morally perfect? 100% not. Is there redemption available to all? There sure is.
2 people found this helpful
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