Most alien invasions are in a large bustling metropolis such as New York City or Washington DC, but when aliens crash-land on a council estate in Oval, South London, they pick the wrong place to mark their arrival on Earth.
A meteor crashes down next to a teenage gang led by Moses (John Boyega) just as they’ve mugged a young nurse. The gang explore the impact site – mainly because it’s a car that could contain ‘bare valuables’ when a ‘gorilla-wolf monster creature jumps out of the car and bites Moses’ face and then runs off into a park. Like any good young hoodlums, the gang chase down and kill the alien.
This brings more and more aliens, which is never a good thing and the boys must escape or get eaten, which in alien films, is never that easy.
The aliens have been kept pretty mysterious with their origin and intent barely explained, making them very threatening foes. As more and more aliens come out of the sky, it is up to the boys, along with the nurse that they mugged (played by Jodie Whittaker) to fight them off to avoid being eaten by their many glow-in-the-dark teeth.
As if fighting an extra-terrestrial attack isn’t enough of a challenge for the gang, they also have to avoid the police and an unhinged local gangster who is very unhappy with them for ruining his car.
As you’d expect from a teenage gang are from a tower block in South London, they talk in London youth slang. The dialogue works, and is a whole lot better than some of the attempts at ‘youf slang’ we’ve seen in the likes of Skins.
Teenage viewers will enjoy it as they will understand what the gang’s talking about, while older viewers may get puzzled at ‘what these darn kids are on about.’ The older viewers will enjoy it bringing back all those memories of the creature feature B-movies of their childhood.
The characters are all very well-written and believable, with the lead protagonists starting off as bad guys, but the as the storyline unfolds and they realise the consequences of their actions it becomes hard not to grow attached to them.
With supporting roles from Nick Frost as the boy’s drug dealer, and Luke Treadaway as a posh-boy trying, and failing, in trying to act ‘street’, the cast works perfectly together.
Written and directed by Joe Cornish (of The Adam and Joe Show fame), it was inspired by a real-life situation when Cornish was mugged in Brixton and he thought ‘what would have happened if we were interrupted by something fantastical?’
The fast-pace of the film always keeps the viewer interested, with a great mix of horror, action and some wonderful one-liners for a little bit of comic relief before the alien battling resumes.