Brit director Joe Cornish has given the alien invasion genre a good kick in the shins with his indie debut feature.

As funny as it is scary, and with a pumped-up soundtrack featuring Basement Jaxx, Attack the Block successfully pulls together elements of comedy, horror, action and sci-fi into a taut 88 minutes. It's a relatively simple premise, a gang of tough teens from Brixton must defend their turf on the council estate from a rival mob - except this rival gang comes from space.

The film kicks off with the cocky teens, led by Moses (Boyega), mugging a young woman only to be interrupted by a strange dog-like creature that has fallen out of the sky. Moses takes it personally, tracking it down and killing it. It's the first of a wave of aliens invading the block.

We have no idea where they're from or why they've come. They're revealed to us slowly as we hear them and see their bright blue neon teeth fleetingly light up the night.


Stylistically they sit well in this street setting - they could have leapt out of a comic book or been inspired by a Banksy graffiti image.

Moses and his teen gang quickly lose their swagger, going from intimidating thugs to a bunch of spirited, good-hearted kids trying to save the world. But the monsters begin picking them off one by one; with the least polite or funny being the first to go.

The premise is outlandish (and in keeping with the film's producers being those behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), the special effects simple, and the cast largely unknown. But Cornish has kept his film short and sharp and given us characters we want to see survive. The result is a blast.

Stars: 4/5
Cast: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Nick Frost
Director: Joe Cornish
Running time: 88 mins
Rating: R16 (Violence, offensive language & drug use)
Verdict: A fun, spunky sci-fi, British-style

Check out the trailer for Attack the Block: