“I like to listen to Adam And Joe, but I listen to the podcast not the live show, I used to feel acute frustration, cause I couldn’t join in with text the nation, but now my fears have disappeared, because retro text the nation’s here, so now my letter might be read out instead of thrown in the bin and forgotten about”

  Some of you reading the above will now have a smile on your face, of recognition, and everyone else will be, wandering what the hell i’m on about!  I’ve been a bit of a fan of Adam and Joe since the Tv series of the 90’s and now like a lot of people in the UK listen to the radio show. On a few occasions in the last few years Joe Cornish would miss the show but we never knew what for, well now we do!  He has gone from making Star War figure parodies of films, to making his first full feature film.

  It’s a south London Council estate and a nurse is on her way home, when she finds her path blocked by a gang of hoodie-wearing, masked teenagers, who ask for her phone and money. Could be any gritty English inner city drama, but suddenly a meteor crashes into a car feet away. The youths investigate the car and rather than find a frazzled sat nav, they find a toothy alien. Do they run away in fear? No they chase it and beat it to death.  This is the opening to Joe Cornish’s debut movie and sets the tone for whats to come.  Soon they find that, this was only the start of their night, when more meteors start crashing around the block and these ones arn’t as easily beaten as their inital visitor.  Can this group of kids armed only with bats and fireworks hold off an alien invasion?

   As an English horror/comedy, this film immediately has a large shadow over it, in the form of Shaun of The Dead, Which was a trans-atlantic hit, but I think it does Joe Cornish’s film a diservice to compare the two films, also this is more sci-fi.  My first feelings when coming out of seeing this was actually shock, not in a bad way but a good way. As I said I associate Joe Cornish with the TV and radio so going in I wasn’t expecting to be blown away, I thought it would be funny, but this film is great on so  many levels.

  Firstly, the cast are great, anyone who has been around a city centre knows how todays teenagers act and talk, and there are no cliched versions here, these kids seem real, with the dialect you hear everyday (Joe hung around youth centres for a few weeks researching teen speak). It might confuse the foreign market, it confused me at times, but it’s not a hindarance to the story. Some of the converstaions between the kids are so down to earth, especially their problems with having limited credit on their phones, (just brilliant and true).  The four young leads start the film as villans, kids you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley, but by the end you have warmed to them immensly and actually find yourself caring for them, and I think it’s a credit to acting abiltiy of these young actors that they achieve this. As the leader of the gang, Moses, John Boyega, gives an amazing performance, truly menancing but you can see there is a lot more going on inside. He doesn’t provide many laughs, thats left to the rest of the gang, Pest (Alex Esmail) being the real joker.  As well as the gang there is a pretty good adult element rounding out the cast. The lovely Jodie Whittaker, as muggee nurse Sam is very good and holds here own against the gang when she finds herself relying on her previous attackers to protect her. Nick Frost plays his usual slobby character as drug dealer, Ron, who is pretty much stoned throughout. Luke Treadaway is pretty funny as the posh boy, Brewis,  just trying to score some weed for a party but finds himself caught up in an alien invasion. Adam Buxton, fans keep your ears open!

  Obviously an Alien films’ success rides on the creatures causing the problems and Joe’s creative team deserve a huge round of applause for the creatures they have produced. They are like a cross between a gorilla and a wolf, with jet black fur that is so dark it’s like looking into a black hole. There are no eyes to stare you out, which I think makes them even scarier, the only thing that you can see are the rows of blue luminescent teeth grinning through the darkness.   They are truly frightening Aliens and one scene where there are a large group outisde a window looking in is very creepy.

  As well as the amazing monster design, the visual style of the film is at times jaw dropping, it may not have the mega budget of Hollywood films but there are shots that Michael Bay would be proud of.  One shot in particular of Moses running through a room with two rockets flying in front of him, was just amazing, it’s the sort of shot that stays in your mind long after you leave the theatre. The estate, even though it’s like many inner city housing estates is like a character itself. The way they have lit it, gives it the look of a space ship,it’s like the USS Solaco has landed. All the corridors of the estate feel like you might see Ellen Ripley coming round a corner at anytime and who would have thought that timed light switches could be so dramatic. Instead of speeder bikes, we have scooters and BMX’s, and instead of Plasma Rifles we have super soakers. One thing that did surprise me was the level of gore, it is surprisingly bloody, but not to a Saw level, it’s not like there’s limbs being ripped off left and right, just the odd death.

  Even if I wasn’t a Joe Cornish fan before I watched this film, I think I would be afterwards. For a debut film, it is impressive, it has all the elemnets that you want, and seems to balance the scares/ humour perfectly. They may be the odd cliche moment but they are very few and far between.  It does have  a bit of an 80’s feeling to it, a bit like The Goonies, but with more peril, You can see that Joe, like me, is a someone who grew up with the films of Spielberg, Lucas and many other classic films, and pays them little tributes throughout.  I think that Mr Cornish could have a big career ahead of him in the film industry, with a writing credit already on the forthcoming Tintin.  The first I really heard about the film was when it was shown earlier this year at the SXSW festival where it recieved rave reviews and I was a bit hestitant of the hype, but now I can see why it was getting such good reviews.  This is a great film, that impressed me so much. I fear that Joe’s days on the radio are numbered, but radio’s loss will be cinemas gain.

Rating 9/10

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