After being mugging a woman one night, Moses (John Boyega) and his friends find themselves in the middle of an alien invasion. They also find themselves in the apartment block of Sam (Jodie Whittaker), the woman they mugged, and the group now has to work together in order to survive.
The movie starts off making you really not like the main characters. They’re a bunch of thugs who don’t seem to have any morality to them whatsoever. But soon enough you do start to realize that they’re just a bunch of stupid, scared kids trying to figure out their lives. It may not justify what they do but it at least gives a valid reason for why they do it. Once they start fighting aliens their emotions go wild and you start to really care about these kids. The threat from the aliens grows more and more, as well as the tension, building to a pretty satisfying climax.
All through this there is also another threat from a guy named Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter). He’s a drug dealer with his eyes and his gun pointed directly at Moses. He’s a great addition to the chaos, just bringing even more chaos to the table. I love how in his first encounter with an alien he’s able to kill it immediately, making him feel as if they are no threat to him. It makes him seem even more deadly and much more arrogant, which is all the more reason to stay out of his way. In a way, he actually feels like a bigger threat than the aliens at times.
Anybody who still uses practical effects today is good in my book, and that’s exactly what this movie is full of. The aliens are giant beastly creatures and all of them are a bunch of guys in costumes, but I have no idea how they did it. Regardless, the whole film has a very 80s vibe to it because of this, and I think that’s the point. It’s been a long time since we got a good critter movie, like Gremlins or, well, Critters. These are clearly part of the inspiration here and it works really well. That being said, it never really breaks that feeling. It stays very safe throughout, killing off the people you expect to get killed off, keeping those safe that you expect to stay safe. But its that self-awareness without being intentionally campy that makes it so entertaining.
Attack the Block is one you should definitely check out. It’s just a good old fashioned alien survival movie. If it sounds like something you would enjoy, then you probably will.