In a 18-month broken window that gave us aliens in a tower block with Attack The Block, a sniper in a tower block in, er, Tower Block, feral children in a tower block in the forthcoming Citadel, and now a crazed, knife-wielding slasher movie vagrant in a tower block with Kidulthood director Menhaj Huda’s suitably bleak and grimy Comedown, it’s clear that as a nation our sense of unease toward what we perceived as uncontrollably dangerous inner-city youth has reached boiling point, and popular culture is whistling like a kettle.
Where Comedown breaks with tradition – for the better – is its perspective as a gang of largely sympathetic teens break into the condemned South London tower block that used to be their home to lock in a pirate radio signal from a suitably lofty upstairs window.
Spurred on by the seemingly ubiquitous Adam Deacon (Dead Set, Kidulthood) as short-tempered, self-aggradising arse Jason – naturally the first of the bunch to die, sarcastic spoiler alert – the hapless protagonists are hunted through the brutalist catacomb of corridors by a hooded assassin (War Horse‘s Geoff Bell) with a tie to their shared past in the building, and their natural rivalries, insecurities and conflicts come to the surface – helped no end by some sneaky pills.
It’s a bad time for a bad trip, basically.
A refreshingly contemporary filter over a slasher movie set-up so old that Moses probably wore a hockey mask – there’s even a touch of Saw in the hooded assailant’s set-piece executions – Comedown makes good on its trek through well-worn territory some superbly tense cinematography as we creep through shadowy corridors and jump at pigeons.
While Attack The Block lent itself well to middle-class sneering and curtain-twitching paranoia, Huda’s instinctual grasp of the setting and the strength of the leads – in particular Jessica Barden (Coronation Street)’s diminutive Kelly and, of course, Adam Deacon, who has got this over-compensationary bluster thing down pat – makes Comedown‘s concrete nightmare engaging enough pull your nerves as tight as a chain link fence.
Involving and intense, if it wasn’t for some ghastly CGI – because apparently there aren’t enough actual tower blocks in the world to train the camera on – and a glib and unsatisfying ending, Comedown would be one of the best sincere slashers in years.