Director: Joe Cornish
Stars: John Boyega, Franz Drameh, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, Nick Frost, Jodie Whitaker, Luke Treadaway, Simon Howard

First-time writer-director Joe Cornish turned in one of the year’s most wow-inducing debuts with Attack The Block, a hip, livewire, and kinetic alien invasion flick that should have evolved into the summer’s most crowd-pleasing sleeper. Instead, unfortunately, people just slept on it altogether, but there’s no reason why this English genre mash-up can’t earn a cult following in years to come.

The story is simple: A gang of unlikeable thugs in South London mug an innocent woman, prepare to haul ass away from the crime scene, and stumble across the beginnings of a wide-scale E.T. onslaught. The invaders, which look totally kick-ass with their glowing teeth and shadow-like bear forms, wreak havoc, prompting the previously bad kids to become heroes, an arc that Cornish handles brilliantly, without resorting to schmaltziness or heavy-handed sentimentality.

Attack The Block is, ostensibly, Cornish’s love letter to Steven Spielberg’s earlier, youth-led genre fare (The Goonies, specifically) and John Carpenter’s old bombastic action flicks (Assault On Precinct 13, Escape From New York). Like those classics, which gained their followings over time, Attack The Block will someday find its rightful audience. We’ll be waiting.