Attack the Block (2011), starring John Boyega and others, is unusual in its mix of horror, comedy, and setting of low-income London. Sequences of lighthearted chatter give way to gruesome death scenes, and Moses, a teenage hooligan, must guide his group to safety in an alien invasion.

Bulky and vague, the invaders tread the line between aliens and monsters, an elegant design suited to the message of the film and its low budget. The boys and the way they are seen by others is best shown through the character of Sam, played by Jodie Whittaker. The very first scenes are those of Sam getting mugged by the boys at knifepoint and having her wedding ring taken. Saved by a meteorite that flattens a car, Sam retreats to her apartment block and is taken in by a neighbor. Meanwhile, the boys have encountered and killed a small, ugly alien reminiscent of 80s sci-fi–the precursor to a much larger imminent force. Gorilla-like aliens, literally darker than the night, chase the teens to their apartment block, where the rest of the movie takes place.

Of note is that Sam learns that the boys were just as scared as she was in the mugging, hinting that violence is not in the boys’ nature. Further insights are gained in a montage of the boys running home to arm themselves. Their worried caretakers make their first appearances and one can only wonder what their home lives are like. Sam’s viewpoint is effectively that of an outsider, even though she lives on the block with everyone else. This surprises the boys, who heavily imply that they wouldn’t have mugged her if they’d known. When Sam reveals that her boyfriend is away in Ghana, helping children, one of the teens asks why he isn’t helping the children of Britain. It’s an easily missed line, perhaps dialed down to not be heavy-handed, but very important in showcasing the somewhat jaded viewpoint of teens in low-income neighborhoods. By the end of the film, Sam is willing to lie to the police if it means that the boys would be punished less, and she is one of the few who knows what really happened.