The R-Rated Dark Sci-Fi Alien Invasion Modern Classic In Danger Of Being Left Behind

By Charlene Badasie | Published

The 2011 British sci-fi comedy horror film Attack the Block is a modern classic that is often overlooked. Written and directed by Joe Cornish, the plot revolves around a group of teenagers from a South London council estate who must protect themselves from predatory alien invaders during Guy Fawkes Night. The film stars John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, and Nick Frost.

Moses And His Gang Protect Their Neighborhood In Attack The Block

attack the block

Attack the Block begins when Samantha Adams (Jodie Whittaker), a trainee nurse, is mugged by a gang of teenage criminals on Guy Fawkes Night. Fortunately, a meteorite crashes nearby, and she is able to escape. While searching the wreckage for valuables, a dog-sized alien creature scratches the gang leader, Moses (John Boyega).

The gang kills the creature and takes it to their acquaintance Ron (Nick Frost), who happens to be a well-connected cannabis dealer hoping for fame and fortune. Instead, Ron’s boss and local gang leader boss, Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter), asks Moses to work for him. As more meteorites fall, the gang ventures to the crash site, where they meet more aliens.

Moses Vs. The Police, Henchman, And Aliens

The situation in Attack the Block escalates when the aliens kill Dennis’ (Franz Drameh) dog, leading to a standoff with the creatures and the police. Moses is arrested, but the aliens follow, resulting in a gruesome attack that leaves some of the gang trapped. Amid the chaos, Hi-Hatz and his henchmen accuse Moses of trying to overthrow him.

The introduction of a new alien complicates matters, leading to a deadly confrontation. The gang seeks refuge in a tower block, where they encounter more aliens. Their alliances shift as they join forces with Samantha, who becomes an ally after witnessing the extraterrestrial threat. As the group is relentlessly attacked, Moses devises a plan to save his friends and Samantha.

How The Movie Came To Be

Attack the Block was a collaborative effort by Big Talk Pictures, along with Film4, The UK Film Council, and StudioCanal. Joe Cornish drew inspiration from a personal experience of being mugged and added a sci-fi twist by interviewing youth groups about their imagined responses to a real alien invasion. The film’s fictional setting in the Stockwell district of London is a composite of various council estates.

Despite Low Box Office Earnings, Critics Love Attack The Block

The movie was released theatrically in the UK on May 11, 2011. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions secured the film’s North American and Latin American rights, releasing Attack the Block through Screen Gems in July that same year. Despite a modest opening, the film earned $1,437,557 on its opening weekend in the UK, securing the third spot behind Thor and Fast Five.  

In North America, Attack the Block earned $1,024,175 during its limited two-month run. Critics lauded the film’s unique blend of scares, humor, and social commentary. It currently holds a 91 percent critic rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, affirming its place as a thrilling and distinctly British sci-fi gem.

Attack The Block Isn’t Streaming And Needs Saving

The home media release for Attack the Block included a DVD and Blu-ray launch in the UK in September 2011 and in the US in October 2011. Unfortunately, the movie never received a 4K/physical media release, a decision that can result in a loss of visual and audio quality, particularly for classic and older films whose elements may deteriorate over time.

Beyond technical concerns, failing to restore movies like Attack the Block causes what can only be described as a cultural erosion of film history. Neglected movies represent lost reflections of societal values and artistic expressions of the time. When older films are not adapted to contemporary viewing technologies, new audiences miss out on their messages.

While Attack the Block is not widely available on streaming or via 4K formats, it can be rented through various Video on Demand platforms.