Attack the Block is a 2011 British monster movie. Written and directed by Joe Cornish in his directorial debut, it comes from the same writing and production stable as other horror/comedies such as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The film stars Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Nick Frost and Luke Treadaway.
Attack the Block is set on a council estate in South London on Guy Fawkes Night, and, with some coming of age themes, the plot centres on a teenage street gang who have to defend themselves from predatory alien invaders. Released on 11 May 2011, the film achieved significant popularity, favorable critical reviews, and accolades internationally. The film has been listed as a cult film in the making by a significant number of websites.
Walking home on Bonfire Night through “The Ends” in Brixton, new-to-the-area nurse Samantha Adams (Jodie Whittaker) is mugged by a small gang of teenage hoodlums: Pest (Alex Esmail), Dennis (Franz Drameh), Jerome (Leeon Jones), Biggz (Simon Howard) and leader Moses (John Boyega). The attack is interrupted when a meteorite falls from the sky into a nearby car, giving Samantha the chance to escape. As Moses searches the wreck of the car for valuables his face is scratched by a pale, hairless, eyeless dog-sized creature; the object which fell from the sky was its cocoon. The creature runs away, but the gang chase and kill it. Hoping to gain fame and fortune, they take the corpse to their acquaintance, cannabis dealer Ron (Nick Frost), to gain advice. He lives at the top of their tower block, Wyndham Tower.
Moses asks Ron and his boss, local gangster Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter), to keep the creature in their fortified “weed room” (which is later referred to as Ron’s Weed-room) while he decides how to proceed. More objects begin to fall from the sky. Eager to fight more of the creatures, the gang arm themselves and go to the nearest crash site. However, they find these aliens are much larger gorilla-size, with spiky fur which is so black it reflects no light, huge claws and multiple rows of glowing fangs. Fleeing the aliens, the gang are intercepted by the police and Moses is arrested, identified as a mugger by Samantha. The aliens, following Moses, maul the police to death and attack their van, leaving Samantha and Moses trapped inside. Dennis reaches the vehicle and drives the van away, only to crash the van into Hi-Hatz’s car. Samantha runs away while the rest of Moses’s gang catch up and confront Hi-Hatz.
Enraged about his car, Hi-Hatz threatens them with a gun, refusing to believe their story of aliens, until his henchman is attacked by one, allowing the gang to escape. The gang try to flee to Wyndham Tower but are again followed and attacked en route by the aliens, where Biggz is forced to hide in a dumpster, and Pest is severely bitten in the leg. They find that Samantha lives in their building, force their way into her flat, and persuade her to treat Pest’s leg. An alien bursts in and Moses kills it with a samurai sword through the head. After seeing that the group was not lying about the creatures being extraterrestrial, Samantha reasons that it is safer to stay with the gang than on her own and joins them. The gang moves upstairs to the flat of some neighborhood girls, believing that their security gate will keep them safe. The aliens instead attack from outside, climbing up the side of the tower block and smashing through the windows.
They bite through Dennis’s motorcycle helmet and decapitate him, killing him. As an alien is about to kill Moses, Samantha stabs it through the head, saving him. The girls note that the aliens went straight for Moses and kick the gang out of the flat, believing them to be the focus of the creatures. In the hall, the gang is attacked by Hi-Hatz and more henchmen. The gang escapes while an alien chases Hi-Hatz and his henchmen into a lift. Hi-Hatz kills the alien, though his henchmen perish, and continues his search for Moses. Making their way upstairs to Ron’s weed room, the gang runs into more aliens, but using fireworks as distractions, they get by. Jerome, however, becomes disoriented in the smoke and is killed by an alien. Entering Ron’s flat they find that Hi-Hatz is already there. Hi-Hatz prepares to shoot Moses but hordes of aliens smash through the window and tear off his face. Moses, Pest and Samantha, joined by Ron’s weed customer Brewis (Luke Treadaway), retreat into the weed room, while Ron hides in the flat.
Biggz, still trapped in the bin by an awaiting adult alien, is saved by Probs and Mayhem, two unruly children, using a water-gun filled with petrol and a flame to torch the creature, since their only apparent weakness is fire. In the weed room, Brewis notices a luminescent stain on Moses’ jacket under the ultraviolet light. Brewis theorizes that the aliens are like spores, drifting through space on solar winds until they chance on a suitable planet. After landing in an area with enough food, the female then lets off a strong pheromone which will attract the male creatures to it so that they can mate and propagate their species in their new world. Brewis suggests that the smaller, hairless alien which Moses killed in the beginning was such a female, and it had left a mating scent on Moses that the larger male aliens have been tracking throughout the evening. The gang form a plan for Samantha, who has not been stained with the pheromone, to go to Moses’s flat and turn on the gas oven.
Moses forces Pest to return the ring they stole from her, feeling guilty for having mugged her. Samantha successfully avoids the aliens, turns on the gas and leaves the Block. Moses, with the dead female alien strapped to his back, rushes out of the weed room and into his flat, while the males converge on the scent and chase Moses through the block. Inside his flat he throws the female into the kitchen and the males follow. Using fireworks, Moses ignites the gas-filled room and leaps out of the window. The explosion engulfs the flat and the aliens, but Moses survives, clinging to a Union Flag hanging from the side of the building. In the aftermath, Moses, Pest, Brewis and Ron are arrested, considered responsible for the deaths around the Block including the two policemen who had earlier arrested Moses. Samantha, however, comes to their defence. In the back of the police van, Moses and Pest hear the residents of the Block cheering for Moses, causing Moses to smile for the first time.
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First Published: Apr 1, 2014