M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved starting with the year I began reviewing the genre officially October 1, 2010 through October 1, 2011. I have posted my best of lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around a bit. I’ve even added a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t!

How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st, 2010 and September 30, 2011 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number, 31. Again, I never call myself any kind of expert in horror. I simply watch a lot of horror films and love writing about them. Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!

Released on July 29, 2011. Available on Video On Demand, digital download, and DVD/BluRay!

#2 – ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011)

Directed by Joe Cornish
Written by Joe Cornish
Starring John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Luke Treadaway, Nick Frost, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, Franz Drameh, Simon Howard, Maggie McCarthy, Danielle Vitalis, Paige Meade, Gina Antwi, Natasha Jonas, Sammy Williams, Michael Ajao, Flaminia Cinque, Jumayn Hunter, Selom Awadzi, Adam Buxton, Haneen Hammou, Jacey Salles, Yvonne D’Alpra, Karl Collins, Joey Ansah, Adam Leese, Lee Long, Jermaine Smith, Dylan Charles, David Cann, Paisley Billings
Find out more about this film here!

Here’s another film that I failed to add to my countdown back in 2010. Could it be because it might be considered a sci fi film? Maybe. Or an action yarn? Yes, I think it comfortably fits in both of those other categories. But I feel that ATTACK THE BLOCK is one of those films that really transcends the genre and ticks all of the boxes to somehow fall easily into multiple genres. I definitely feel that there are terrifying elements in ATTACK THE BLOCK. The monsters are amazing and scary as all get out and there are scores of scenes that are filled with tension and suspense. Don’t think it’s a horror film? Oh well, I do, and I think it’s one of the best ones that dropped in 2011.

A group of youngsters and other residents, all living in a UK tenement building are besieged by giant snarling and drooling monsters that have dropped from outer space and will stop at nothing to reach their target—the carcass of a female of its species that just so happens to be held in the penthouse of the building. The leader of the gang of kids (John Boyega in his debut role) and the rest of the tuffs must take bat, skateboard, and firearms in hand in order to defend their home from these creatures not of this earth.

First and foremost, while the look of the monsters are similar to the little monsters from CRITTERS, they are the Crites evil inbred cousins as these monsters are some of the most badassed alien designs I’ve seen in ages. Basically they are moving shadows with glowing eyes and drooling mouths that will chomp, rip, and shred you to…well, shreds. The way Joe Cornish presents these monsters is truly unique—highlighting their lack of detail with ultra-slo-mo shots that only add to the terror. These are monsters that once seen, are the stuff of nightmares.

Cornish keeps the pace moving quickly all the way through. There are not many slow spots in ATTACK THE BLOCK as it hits the ground running establishing the complexity of Boyega’s Moses who is introduced as a pretty ruthless gang leader, attacking Jodie Whittaker’s Sam and being pretty cold to even his own gang members. But when the monsters start falling, these conflicts are tossed aside and it is literally human against alien with Moses and Sam teaming up in order to save their building. ATTACK THE BLOCK is where Boyega debuted as an actor and while he’s been in multiple films since then, this is by far his best role to date. Whittaker is also strong as Sam who begins a victim and ends a survivor. There are also some strong character beats from Nick Frost’s drug dealing Ron, the clueless Luke Treadaway’s Brewis, and even some great child actors who hold their own against the monsters. Here not even the kids are annoying. They’re just part of the fun.

ATTACK THE BLOCK came out right at the beginning of the trend of horror and action films that take place in a large tenement apartment building in the UK. It’s odd that so many films such as DREDD, CITADEL, TOWER BLOCK, THE RAID: REDEMPTION, and I’ll even include Ben Wheatley’s HIGH-RISE (though it came a bit later), all came out in relatively the same time with the same setting. Not sure why this trend happened, but it came and went pretty quickly. Whatever the reason, the setting of the apartment building makes for an amazing video game like experience with the heroes making their way up level by level and the big boss level being in the penthouse for the climax of the film. Sure it’s a simplistic way of telling a story, but it’s also a very effective one.

ATTACK THE BLOCK is one of those films that has a little of something for everyone. There are thrills and chills. Cool monsters and even cooler heroes. Fun set pieces. Great effects that were most likely cheaper than they look to be on screen. Great music and a vibe that most films only dream of achieving. While at times, I found myself thinking twice about the dialog as the British accents are pretty thick, that’s the only setback I have found with this one. For me, if you’re looking for fun, mayhem, and scares, ATTACK THE BLOCK delivers them all deftly and defiantly.


THE 2010-2011 COUNTDOWN!


#2 – ATTACK THE BLOCK
#3 – TROLLHUNTER
#4 – I SAW THE DEVIL
#5 – BLACK SWAN
#6 – MUTANTS
#7 – THE SILENT HOUSE
#8 – LET ME IN
#9 – THE REEF
#10 – RED, WHITE, & BLUE
#11 – A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE
#12 – WE ARE WHAT WE ARE
#13 – DOGTOOTH
#14 – PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2
#15 – KIDNAPPED
#16 – INSIDIOUS
#17 – A SERBIAN FILM
#18 – TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL
#19 – HEARTLESS
#20 – ABSENTIA
#21 – BEREAVEMENT
#22 – RUBBER
#23 – GRAVE ENCOUNTERS
#24 – STAKE LAND
#25 – WAKE WOOD
#26 – LONG PIGS
#27 – HUSK
#28 – YELLOWBRICKROAD
#29 – MONSTERS
#30 – LA HORDE
#31 – THE VIOLENT KIND


M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.

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