Attack the Block (2011) - I first saw this film at the Boston Science Fiction Festival / Marathon and liked it immensely. Defined character arcs small though they are, and snap quick pacing made it a really enjoyable. It is a small tale of a group of kids on the verge of being thugs who learn that the community that will be their target is more than a bunch of victims. After watching it again last night I think that still holds up as an enjoyable small budget science fiction film.
The youth of this development are tweens and teens who are disengaged from the community, lead by 15 year old Moses (John Boyega) the prowl the neighborhood looking for trouble. They mug fellow resident Sam (Jodie Whittaker) and in general act like they own the subsidized housing. Dressed in hoodies and carrying weapons they are intimidating in numbers. Still they are not the real threat older and more dangerous young men like Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter) grow and sell drugs and carry guns so these kids are really trying on a role that they are not quite ready for. There are a couple of even younger boys who aspire to hang with Moses and his crew to give an even better contrast to the setting. It is a story about consequences. The actions the boys take make the story move and they in the rush to be tough guy cost people their lives.
This is a film with a simple setup that is well executed. After showing us the boys are callous in mugging poor Sam they see a meteor come crashing down from the sky and go to investigate it. It is the decision by the teens of the Block that drive the story Moses leads his friends to the site of where one of the creatures landed and they proceed to kill it and carry it around like a trophy. Like the boys in Lord of the Flies they have done a manly thing but parade like children. Along with Moses is Jerome (Leeon Jones), Dennis (Franz Drameh), Pest (Alex Esmail) and Biggz (Simon Howard) and little do they know that the blood of that alien creature will attract a far more deadly gender of the species.
Those creatures dark as night with glowing rows of teeth descend on the Block in search of the female already killed by the boys. Her scent on the boy's clothes is a scent that the creatures do not mistake and they come in force seeking out the kids. A fight for survival ensues where the eyeless beast stalk and kill those they smell the female on while the boys do there best to survive and figure out how to deal with the situation. Mixed in this mess is Sam who ends up taking a change on her former assailants and joining the cause. There is also a subplot with Hi-Hatz where he comes after Moses for damaging his car again consequences for actions that started as just a bit of teenage fun.
In the end Moses and Sam hatch a plan to blow the aliens up and work together towards that end. Now I am not saying this is a great movie but I find it really enjoyable. You have a kid learning lessons and adults who go from fearing him to understanding he is on the cusp of becoming a criminal but with the right support can still be redeemed. There is a recommendation for this film as some good light science fiction that has a bit more to the story than just the aliens.