Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Frightfest 2012: Tower Block

It is the final few days for London tower block Serenity House, it’s occupants who live on the 31st floor, are preparing for the big move. But days before the move, and completely out of the blue, the occupants awake to find themselves at the end of a barrel. A sniper has positioned himself in close proximity and picks off the residents one by one, leaving a handful left in the adjoining corridor on planning an exit. It’s not just the sniper they need to be wary of, the block has been rigged with booby traps, while among the residents frictions from the past and the present might just be the biggest threat. 

Tower Block is the latest script offering from man of the moment James Moran (Cockney’s vs Zombies, Severance, Torchwood), and first time feature directors James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson.  And a valiant, strong, high powered movie it is, a rollercoaster in every sense of the word from the offset, to its conclusion.

A very unconventional leading lady, the lovely Sheridan Smith, powers Tower Block. The star of many of comedy movie or show, and leading light of the stage, is transformed into a ballsy, all action lead; taking the occupants of the 31st floor in hand, and showing them the possible way to freedom. Many will look upon this casting as a terrible mistake; in fact many at the world premier as part of London’s Film 4 Frightfest were almost considering skipping the movie because of the casting. If you want a romantic lead its Sheridan Smith, if you want a scatty blonde, she is also a good choice, but an all action lead? Smith pulls it off, and really kicks-ass making the movie the powerful beast it later becomes. 

Tower Block starts as it means to go on, the first scene consists of a violent beating by thugs. Then the first realization that it’s all about to kick off comes in the shape of a head explosion, delivered courtesy of special effect guru Paul Hyett. If there is one thing you can be sure of, it’s the darkness that surrounds all the characters, and the overall blackness of the feature, which is lightened by some much-needed comedy.

The supporting cast are legends new and old Russell Tovey, Jack O’Connell and the towering light that is Ralph Brown, give Smith the some much needed support, and someone to bully when needed.

A real achievement of the movie, and a real hat tip to Nunn and Thompson is budget. Tower Block was achieved on a modest budget, yet amazingly it manages to look like something far bigger, even though if you analyze the movie, you can see where those savings were made.

Tower Block will be a smash hit when it is released towards the end of September, and if you see one British movie this autumn, make this the one. 

Spencer Hawken @Views From The Edge

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