Working from the premise that a housing estate in London is as good as any place to stage an alien invasion of Earth, writer-director Joe Cornish takes great delight in indulging, and sometimes subverting the genre cliches in his highly entertaining and very cool feature debut, Attack The Block.
After mugging a nurse, Sam (Jodie Whittaker), on her way home from work, Moses (John Boyega) and his band of not-so-merry lads, are taken by surprise when an alien crashes into a nearby car. At first they think it's a firework gone astray, but the beast - baboon-like but with some major fangs - makes its presence known, slashing Moses' face in its escape.
The boys pursue and kill the creature but that's just the beginning of their troubles. Other aliens are on their way - and so are the police; Sam calling in the cops to apprehend her attackers.
But when the second wave of extraterrestrials arrive - bigger, blacker than black and with teeth that glow in the dark - the police prove less than useful and Sam is forced to form an uneasy alliance with Moses and his gang in an effort to make it through the night, and out of the Block - the housing estate where they all live - alive.
Cornish starts in on the action almost immediately and doesn't let up, with the humour and the horror coming in a steady flow. He might reference more than a few other films of this ilk in doing so but there's no denying the guy knows how to make a movie. Cornish can also throw in a little social commentary - after the failure of guns and drugs, of course the government would send in aliens to kill off the undesirables - without it landing like a sledgehammer.
Moses and his gangs' transition from villains to heroes is also smoothly; Sam soon discovering that Moses, despite being just 15 years of age, is a good guy to have around in a crisis. So, too, is a nurse, despite her propensity for profanity (amusingly, the boys reprimand Sam on her "potty mouth"; they may be louts but they're not uncouth.)
Sadly for them, not all of them will make it out of the Block; two of them falling victim to the invaders before they can reach the safe haven that is Ron's pot room (Ron played by comic, Nick Frost) where they stored the corpse of the first invader.
Attack The Block may not have the homage-induced nostalgia of J.J. Abrams' Super 8, 2011's other 'kids and aliens' pic (and indeed, only a fraction of that film's budget), but Joe Cornish manages to elicit a rousing response - cheers more than tears - nonetheless. Believe!