Is low-tech alien flick 'Attack the Block' the next 'District 9'?

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX – “District 9” was a small independent film set and shot in South Africa.

The low-budget flick was so completely different from anything coming out of Hollywood that it garnered a lot of attention.

The 2009 science-fiction thriller about aliens forced to live in a ghetto quickly became a cult hit and even went on to pick up an Oscar nomination for best picture.

Movie history could be repeating itself with the small film out of London called “Attack the Block.”

The movie is set in the ghetto are of London and the action centers around a gang of kids, with gang used in the traditional sense, that ends up battling aliens.

Produced by the same people who did “Shawn of the Dead,” it goes back and forth between scary and funny very quickly. You do, however, have to wade through the accents and the slang.

“We kind of learned the language that young people speak now in London,” said director Joe Cornish. “For me, it’s a science fiction thing. One of the great things about science fiction are these cool words that only mean something to fans – like dilithium crystals or Hoth -- all these meaningless words that insiders know the meaning of. It was a little like the movie ‘A Clockwork Orange’ for me where all the characters all have a special language.

“’Attack the Block has its own language,” he continued. “You shouldn’t be scared by it or put off by it. You pick it up pretty fast. By the time you’ve seen the movie, you’ll be ready to come to South London and kick some alien butt.”

Taking a cue from Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece “Jaws,” you don’t see the aliens at all in the first part of the movie. That ups the scary factor.

Once you do see the dark, hairy, gorilla-wolf-like monster with glow-in-the-dark teeth, it’s enough to make you jump out of your seat.

“I wanted to do something very different,” Cornish explained. “I wanted to do something a bit more old school. … The creatures in ‘Attack the Block’ are unlike anything you’ve seen before. Hopefully, they make an asset out of being a little more inventive and low-fi than what you might get in a big blockbuster.”

“Attack the Block” is rated R, and is getting great reviews from critics and audiences alike. It opens in Arizona this weekend.