Waiching Liu’s review published on Letterboxd:
Backed by Film 4 and the British Film Council, Attack The Block is a survival horror film that has a lot in common with Shaun of the Dead, moreso than its American counterparts by being a fusion of comedy and horror and much like with that movie, it is made in the UK; the only difference being it is set in South London as opposed to the countryside with Shaun of the Dead. The film also heralded the emergence of John Boyega, who has since gone onto greater success, worldwide with Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Finn.
John Boyega, who became the breakout star of this film, is Moses: a leader of a gang member who, along with his best mates live in a low down South London estate & they start to cause trouble wherever they go and make lives hell for their neighbours who live there, including a trainee nurse who is mugged by the gang. But things come to a head when a meteor strikes and the group of delinquents are confronted by a horde of alien creatures, who have invaded their local area and set out to kill them, one by one. The city's only hope in stopping them run amok and devour everything and everyone in sight is a motley crew of troublesome teens, who have to defend themselves and survive.
Attack The Block, is in essence, a horror film laced with social aspects; if you have seen Shaun of the Dead, it is pretty much a similar film, only replace Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, zombies and the countryside setting with the city in London, creatures that resemble fuzzy beasts with giant fangs and a younger set of good guys. Nick Frost also has a supporting role in this film as the gang's best friend.
Though the film lacks humour, it is still witty, much like with Shaun of the Dead, & it still works to Attack The Block's advantage and the tension and thrills it generates are palpable, thus making the film exciting in places as well. The story was engaging and the characters and the performances were believable, with John Boyega being one of the standouts and there wasn't a dull moment throughout for me. Yet I do wish the girls had more of a prominent role to play in the film. I also liked the idea of so-called bad people trying to do right, in an attempt to redeem themselves. Some films also do this, but here, it comes off as being more natural and less desperate and these teens are not overly evil and despicable enough that makes you want to hate them and that they turn over a new leaf. Additionally, the creature designs are very inventive and so menacing at the same time.
Occasionally light-hearted, but also it makes attempts to be a survival horror film that seems genuine and less superficial on the surface of it all, Attack The Block is what I'd call as an overlooked film that is executed with boldness and crafted and great camera work, along with an understanding of what horror films should attempt to do, but also by not glossing over the little details and tropes that make a horror film great.
Attack The Block also gets bonus points for being a British film that isn't in the context of Richard Curtis's middle/upper class efforts such as Four Weddings & A Funeral, Love Actually and Notting Hill and for showing that side of London, well, cinematography and locations wise, the wider world doesn't see very often in cinema. Along with the really good performances, this is one of the unique takes on the horror genre, whilst fusing the inner city and teen gang concepts together, it also doubles up as a film that expands upon the idea of 'Britishness' and that no matter our social background, it's about coming together as one to fight evil and to succeed in the end.
& much like with 2007's Exit Speed, Attack The Block is another example of how smaller budget films can be as equally good and achievable as multi-million blockbusters and with effects and action that can still stand up with the big boys, but at the fraction of the cost.
Those who saw John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens ought to give this a watch.
As this is pretty good, bruv!