There is always one film at FrightFest that blindsides you, smashing expectations and giving you a fun, fright packed, thrill ride into the unexpected. 2011’s film was the awesome genre jumping Kill List and this year, it was Tower Block.
The closing film of the fest, I knew little to nothing about this British horror save its title, its London setting and its writer – the hilarious horror scribe James Moran. Judging from Moran’s other movies Severance and his first FrightFest entry Cockneys vs. Zombies I guessed I was up for a comedy horror come gory joy ride, but Tower Block is thankfully so much more.
Much like Kill List my advice to anyone reading this is to stop right now, don’t watch the trailer and go and see this film as I did with no expectations at all for the most enjoyable and surprising experience. However for anyone still here reading I will try and give away as little as possible.
Set in the titulature tower block, the film revolves around the top floor which houses the only remaining residents who are soon to be moved so that the concrete monstrosity can be demolished.
Eking out an existence, this bunch of streetwise stereotypes including alcoholic loner Paul (Being Human’s Russell Tovey), no nonsense, hard working Becky (Sheridan Smith) and nasty bully boy Kurtis (Jack O’Connell from Eden Lake) – who gets protection money from the other occupants – are unfazed when a boy is kicked to death in their hallway. Only Becky rushes out to help, receiving a brutal beating for her trouble.
Too scared to do anything, nothing changes when the police arrive asking for information. However the very next morning their whole world is suddenly and scarily torn apart. All of them are plunged into a life and death situation with seemingly no explanation, and more importantly to the terrified tower block tenants no means of escape.
Tower Block offers up a brilliant, highly original story, amazing suspense and some very well written characters, brought to life by the great British cast which also includes Ralph Brown, Jill Baker, Julie Graham and Kane ‘Kano’ Robinson, all of which exceed the stereotypes laid down at the start.
Directing duo James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson do a fine job on what is their first feature. Keeping up the pace and throwing in some thrilling moments, they make sure the suspense, real life horror of the situation and the lives under threat is always in the fore. All whilst delivering some highly humorous comic moments courtesy of Moran’s spiked script.
One of my favorite films of FrightFest 2012, Tower Block is part siege movie, part claustrophobic slasher and part urban drama all blended into a thrilling, exciting horror. It’ll have you by the foot, hanging 50 floors high ’til it drops you, screaming, in the last act.