Tower Block
Year:
2012
Country:
UK
Genre:
Thriller
IMDB rating:
5.8
Director:
James Nunn, Ronnie Thompson
Storyline: Several months after witnessing a murder, residents of Tower Block 31 find themselves being picked off by a sniper, pitting those lucky enough to be alive into a battle for survival.
Type HQ DVD-rip
Resolution 1024x576 px
File Size 1903 Mb
Codec h264
Bitrate 448 Kbps
Format mkv
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Reviews
Should have moved to the other side of the building....
A young man is chased by two thugs in the titular building and killed.

Moving on a few months, the tower block is closing and the only residents that are left are in the top floor, and would you believe it? Some dirty rotter starts taking pot shots at them.

And they are really good, because they only have to stick their head or hand up near the window and its instant death....

Despite the fact that the premise is a bit silly, and all they had to do was to stay on the other side of the tower block, this film is a solid thriller, with great performances from Smith and O'Connell.

But a lot of work could have been done on the characters. We have all the generic parts you would expect from a movie.

The two Gangsters who may or may not have a secret.

The husband and wife who have been there for years.

A mother and child, who have just lost the man in their life.

The girl who everyone thinks is scum, but really has a heart of gold.

The lad who fancies the above.

And the hard man who everyone hates/fears, but comes good at the end.

And its if they all pick a ticket with a number on to see who gets offed first. If you take plausibility and throw it out of the window, its a good 90 minutes of no brain, tense action.

Its a shame it didn't get a wider release, but released so soon after The Raid, and Attack the Block, people must have had council flat fatigue...
2013-08-21
Top of the Blocks
An unidentified sniper with a high-powered semi-automatic rifle is picking off the last residents of a decaying inner city tower block. He has control of the power to the building and has also set booby traps to prevent them leaving the top floor. The scene is set for a ferocious game of cat and mouse in this tense low-budget British thriller.

What makes it good and watchable? The characters are everyday people believably portrayed by an accomplished cast of performers – which helps a great deal. Sheridan Smith is excellent as our vaguely slatternly heroine and Jack O'Connell stands out as Kurtis, the block's resident criminal running a protection racket on the others. His particular cavalier brand of sociopathic thuggery makes for compelling watching.

Tension mounts as the group in-fight and bicker and are knocked off one by one as they try various mode of escape. Their plight is linked to the recent murder of a young man in building whereby they failed to help the police with their enquiries. Someone seems to be holding them responsible for not contributing to the perpetrators being caught. But who?

The identity of the antagonist – when revealed – is a bit of a letdown and stretches credibility, but apart from that it's a gripping little piece that achieves effective results with a minuscule budget. The gore content isn't massive and the special effects are sparse, but the minimalist overall style keeps it lean and fast-paced. If you enjoy serial-killer sniper flicks, like TARGETS, TWO MINUTE WARNING, PHONE BOOTH, etc, then you'll get a blast out of this little gem.
2013-03-16
Decent single location thriller
TOWER BLOCK follows in the footsteps of plenty of recent low-budget thrillers in having a single location as its setting. I always enjoy the possibilities of such story lines, which require the writers to work harder on the dialogue to bring the characters and the situation to life. It also makes it trickier for the director to elicit suspense from such a scenario, but when it works it works really well. And that's the case here.

Writer James Moran also did the dues on COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES and this film has much the same feel to it: a respect of B-movies and a genuine love of the genre. The story is simple and extremely shocking, punctuated with moments of in-your-face violence that lend gritty realism to the proceedings. In essence, it's a bunch of disparate characters trapped in a corridor by a sniper, and yet maximum tension is generated from such a scenario.

The actors are fine in their roles, with Sheridan Smith's resourceful heroine a modern-day Ellen Ripley, and Jack O'Connell's would-be villain undergoing a particularly interesting character arc. Also nice to see Ralph Brown on the screen some twenty years after ALIEN 3. The directors handle the material well, generating plenty of excitement, and even when the story dips into cliché – as at the climax – it still works well. TOWER BLOCK is hardly original, but it's nonetheless a well made and gripping little thriller.
2013-08-05
Die Hard meets Assault on Precinct 13 on a low budget = nerve-shredding!
SEVERANCE scribe James Moran does it again with another sharp, bloody script containing a social message relevant to our times. 3 months after witnessing the death of a teenager, the residents of the top floor of a tower block awaiting demolition find their reluctance to talk to the Police coming back to haunt them when an unseen sniper starts picking off anyone who unwittingly goes near a window. Sheridan Smith (Gavin and Stacey) and Jack O'Connell (Skins) head a uniformly excellent cast in this taut British thriller that doesn't skimp on the blood or the depiction of the true cost of looking the other way when someone's in need and you could help them - but don't, because you're too scared or complacent to do so.
2012-09-22
You'll be surprised....
I went to see this film without knowing much about it or seeing the trailer. I had read the plot on IMDb just before going into the cinema and didn't know who was in it.

The film starts quite slowly with after the pre-opening sequence. The majority of the characters are introduced and we learn quite a bit about them. I was glad to see Sheridan Smith and Russell Tovey, there acting was good to say they had an average script. I also enjoyed 'that kid from Harry Brown' (Jack O'Connel)'s performance.

The storyline is unique and interesting and once it gets going you'll find yourself on the edge of your seat and guessing who'll be killed.

Jack o'connell manages to turn a firstly hated character into a lovable rouge and is on occasions very humorous.

Overall the film is interesting and chilling with no major disappointment except a few plot points that were not explained; however, it still entertained me to the end.
2012-09-26
Superior, effective British real time thriller that really works
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Serenity House is the latest in a long line of high rise London tower blocks scheduled for demolition, with the niggling problem of a few remaining residents on the top floor. A year before, however, a young man was brutally murdered there and his killers never brought to justice because nobody talked. A year later, those remaining residents find themselves at the mercy of a sniper's rifle, as one by one they are plucked off as they try to work out how to survive and who is behind it.

These grim, gritty urban British dramas have all become pretty interchangeable, with some seemingly appearing out of nowhere on DVD, some getting maybe a limited release in theatres here and there and some enjoying more of a mainstream following. A familiar sight in these films tends to be the titular 'tower blocks', the high rising tenement complexes which, at the beginning of the film, are acknowledged as having originally being seen as a wondrous privilege after the second world war for those lower down the scale in society but which, over the years, deteriorated into decadent, run down hell holes, breeding grounds for crime. Despite it's impressive visual style and dark sense of foreboding, if Tower Block had gone down this same route of exploring social breakdown, it could simply have been an impressive but ultimately forgettable effort. As it is, it's a film in a league all of it's own, a hard hitting, unbearably tense and scary effort that works wonders.

The first 'sniper shot', as the first victim casually sits and talks with another character over some coffee, genuinely made me jump out my skin and sets the tone for what's about to follow. It shakes the foundations of a typical urban Brit flick and adds a high concept idea all of it's own that makes it stand out and keep you riveted. The grainy, drained out camera style and whirring digital soundtrack were already working when the film started, but as the story progresses, it works even better. In this already dismal, hopeless setting, we find a host of characters, some more sympathetic than others, thrown together and forced to over come their hostility and prejudices to one another in order to make it out alive.

Cast wise, it's best to focus on the two main characters, who also happen to be played by the trendiest, most up and coming stars. Jack O' Connoll is hardly stretching himself as a swaggering, tough talking wannabe bad boy, but that doesn't make his presence any less effective, and it's wise to play a part he tends to specialize in. As the heroine, Sheridan Smith delivers, as a feisty, determined young woman who tries to keep a cool head while everything around her goes mad. In their own way, all the supporting cast are as big a part in making it what it is and no one can be denied their dues.

In a genre that has a tendency to be a bit hit and miss, Tower Block is just a success, tense, atmospheric, jumpy, challenging, uneasy, claustrophobic and just a shattering new spin in a genre, that pays off splendidly. *****
2013-03-26
Yes it's far fetched and yes it's ridden with plot holes, but at least it's entertaining
*********************MAJOR SPOILERS***************************

Tower Block is sort of a cross between Attack the Block, Saw & The Negotiator. This is probably another film that is easiest to summarise simply by dividing it into good and bad. I'll start with the good;

GOOD - The opening scene shows a youth being beaten up and subsequently killed, albeit unintentionally. When a police officer makes door to door enquiries with the residents, he speaks to Becky (Sheridan Smith) who claims that she hasn't seen anything and refuses to assist the police. This might seem strange to those that live outside the UK, but in certain areas of the UK and within certain communities, the police are seen as 'the enemy' and people refuse to 'grass' for fear of reprisals. This doesn't necessary set the characters as being 'bad', but merely explores what parts of our society are like within the UK. I also liked the way that there were a good mix of characters living in the block - it would have been easy for the filmmaker's just to have a load of unlikeable chavs (or delinquents for those who are unfamiliar with UK slang), but there were clearly a mix of good and bad people which again meant that the characters weren't entirely clichéd. We don't get much background information on the characters, but we know enough about them to understand that they all have their own identify. Again I felt it was a fair representation of our society. A special nod should also go to Sheridan Smith and Julie Graham who I felt probably gave the strongest performances. There is a particularly effective scene between the objectionable Kurtis (Jack O'Connell) and family man Neville (Ralph Brown). Kurtis had been taking payment from the residents to 'protect' them, but when Kurtis pushes Neville too far he punches him and knocks him to the ground. I believe the point of this scene was to show how weak and cowardly bullies are and effectively Kurtis did try to bully many of the residents throughout the film. I thought that was a good bit of writing. Tower Block moves at a very brisk pace and I don't recall there being a dull moment throughout the film. It certainly kept me entertained for the majority of its 90 minute running time.

BAD; OK, it's impossible to overlook how far fetched and ridiculous that this film felt at times. We have a sniper who seems to be able to pick people off the instant a curtain opens. How come he always knew which window they would appear from and be able to shoot them instantly every time? He would only be able to point his sniper at one window at a time so is it just luck that he happens to always have his sniper trained on the right window. Next we come to the booby traps - I mean geez who was his accomplice John Kramer aka Jigsaw from the Saw films. I just found it hard to believe that a police officer would have the skill or the knowledge to be able to concoct these elaborate traps. In Saw, we learn that John Kramer is able to create elaborate traps, but it's explained that he is a Civil Engineer and hence has the required knowledge to be able to create complex mechanical traps. Are we really expected to believe that a police officer is able to do this? Even if he had the skill to set these traps up (which seems unlikely to me). How on earth would he be able to do all this without anybody noticing? He also manages to block a fire exit by placing a skip in front of the door. How did he do that? Did he have a mate with a skip lorry and a skip? It just got more and more ludicrous as it went on. For me the worst aspect of the film was the final 10 minutes or so; the vigilante police officer decides to enter the Tower Block to pick off the remaining residents. What surprised me about this is that he ends up making it easier for the residents to get the better of him. If he'd stayed where he was, they still would have struggled escaping. When watching this scene, it reminded me of that line towards the end of Crocodile Dundee 2 "When we were kids, did you chase the snake into the cane fields". In other words, why did he go into the lions den (so to speak) and make himself more vulnerable. The end of the film is also a bit ambiguous as you find yourself not sure whose side you should be on - the residents were wrong because they didn't do anything to prevent the sniper/police officer's son from getting killed, but then again the police officer killed a lot of people who genuinely may not have known who killed his son. I found the ending to be somewhat of an anti-climax and also thought it was a strange way to wrap the film up. I also wasn't impressed by Jack O'Connell's 'over-acting'.

Despite some of my reservations Tower Block is still worth a look. In spite of its many flaws, it is entertaining and I can honestly say that there was never a dull moment. At times the writing was really sharp, but due to the numerous plot holes and the rather anti-climatic ending it's nothing more than an average film.
2014-05-29
Brilliant and under-rated gem
This is a fantastic movie and even more so given it's a low budget indie entirely filmed in one small location! I have great admiration for a team that can put together something with the quality of this movie particularly with those obstacles.

The direction is top notch, building suspense throughout, delivering unpredictable shocks & events and developing some lovely relationships between the people trapped in the building. The cinematography and music score are spot on lending a hand to the overall gritty industrial mood of the environment and sense of impending doom & hopelessness. But it's not at all a depressing movie. It's actually quite uplifting. I loved the characters and their believable and interesting interactions. There was some top notch acting from several people and the character of one in particular was so well acted & developed I wanted to see more of him!! Several other characters were also very likable and engaging while others were infuriating but you still didn't want them to get hurt. It's a fine movie indeed that makes you care so much for the people they've invented that you feel sad when the movie ends and they've gone.

Yeah the plot had some holes here and there but they are not that significant in the context of how incredibly well this movie is put together. Most of the time it hung together well, people behaved as anyone would in the situation and it was mostly unpredictable. Special marks for having a strong female character, for not pulling punches about who "bites the bullet" and who doesn't and for the interesting side story of the alcoholic lad. And of course for the thoroughly fascinating stand-over guy. (I'll be looking for more movies with that young actor in them!!)

The "reveal" and final scene could possibly have been handled better, but I've seen a lot worse and I was happy enough with it. In any case, the journey to get there was so engrossing and enjoyable it really didn't matter.

The only truly (wholly) negative reviews I've read about this movie have focused on very trivial details (nit picking) &/or a couple of plot holes to proclaim this pretty much the worst movie in the history of the Universe. This seems a little petty & extreme to say the least. It's most certainly NOT the worst movie, nor is it the best but it's definitely one of the better ones, regardless of any flaws it may have. I say, you show me a movie totally without flaws and I'll find at least one anyway! :)

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment and recommend it unreservedly for people who enjoy good drama, thriller, suspense, action movies etc and for those who like to see how a movie can be brilliant without the need for a huge budget and fancy effects.
2013-09-11
Exciting, gritty, funny! Think twice before you thrown open the curtains...
Tower Block is a lesson in how to make fine films in single locations with tiny budgets that are character driven, effects-light and based on sharply written simple premises, which are blackly funny but still suspenseful. That Tower Block marks the feature directorial debuts for James Nunn & Ronnie Thompson, is astounding. What a way to start! 1950's Britain saw the birth of high-rise blocks as a solution to the post-war population boom. For a while they were popular for their views and originality. Then we grew up, realized how bad they were for morale, how quickly they became havens for crime and we started demolishing them.

Fast forward to preset day London. The residents on the top floor of one such tower block have stubbornly remained in their flats until the council can rehouse them, despite threats from the developer who has acquired the land and to being victims of extortion by number one grunt of the block, Kurtis. When a resident is beaten to death in a vicious attack, all but one of the other tenants bolt their doors and hope the trouble will go away. But Becky's heroics count for nothing and her bruises cause her to withdraw, too. Then, one morning several months later, a sniper starts executing them.

The stylized title sequence sets the tone of the film with muted colours, camera angles that make heads tilt and an intensity that puts the viewer on edge from the outset. We know there'll be a shot fired sooner or later, but it's still a jolt when the initial shot happens. It certainly makes an impact… We're given only the briefest introductions to the characters before the dying commences in style. It's ruthless when it happens and the 90-minute running time ensures the pace is tightened for maximum impact. But, though the journey is swift, Tower Block is far from being only about action and brutality. Each character who survives the initial onslaught is given (some) time to breathe and relationships are hastily forged where previously there has been barely a glance shared on the top floor.

The closest Tower Block comes to a star is Sheridan Smith, an actress who made her name in TV (Eyes Down, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps) and has earned plaudits and gongs on the stage in Legally Blonde and Hedda Gabler. In Tower Block, Smith states her intention to conquer the big screen, too, with a strong performance as a determined woman forced to lead a clutch of neighbours fighting for survival despite dwindling options and rising tempers.

Excellent as she is, Smith shares ownership of the limelight with Jack O'Connell (Eden Lake, Harry Brown) as Kurtis. Though Kurtis is utterly detestable from the moment we meet him, O'Connell subtly unravels him to reveal insecurities and fears that have been shrouded in a flapping cloak of aggression for years. Deep within this morally corrupt monster lies a code of conduct and a pragmatism that one can't help, well, if not liking then at least enjoying. And screenwriter James Moran has gifted him some of the funnies quips of the film.

The supporting cast forms a who's who of council estate characters and there's a certain amount of pleasure to be gained from guessing who's destined to become the next splatter of pulp across the wall. And when it inevitably arrives, each demise brings its own cocktail of wince and smile.

Moran, who is given a moment of glory with the presence of his Cockneys Versus Zombies poster, writes from within each character with the same tone he set in 2006's Severance. There are no pointless monologues of exposition, just beautiful, jagged and bitterly funny snatches of conversation that reflect each character's evolution from their reticence to reveal too much, to the spewing of emotion when their mortality is callously close. If this is anything to go by, next year's Silent Night of the Living Dead could be stunning.

Though last night's audience was woefully small, it was a preview screening and the buzz with which the viewers left was palpable and Tower Block is likely to be a film that steadily builds an audience via word of mouth. And so it should. It's an exciting, gritty, funny film and, in the current batch of 'films in towers', though it falls short of the virtually flawless The Raid, I suspect it ranks higher than Dredd and positively towers above Man on Ledge and Tower Heist.

Tower Block misses perfection for some silly mistakes it is impossible to point out here without giving away plot lines other than to say the final act of violence was three inches the wrong side of cheesy and when a certain character improvises with 'armour', only in the worst moments of Hollywood would it be adequate. But these are but silly errors of judgment in an otherwise riveting film that'll have you thinking twice before you thrown open the curtains.

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2012-09-24
A Decent Thriller, For What It Was
Several months after witnessing a murder, residents of Tower Block 31 find themselves being picked off by a sniper, pitting those lucky enough to be alive into a battle for survival.

Leading the way is Sheridan Smith, who I was not previously familiar with, despite her distinguished list of credits. She comes across as a strong actress and should be praised for that. Unfortunately, she is also a very, very hideous monster of a woman, and will thus probably not be seen in many American films. The British are less superficial about who they cast (as this film shows -- not one person was more attractive than average, giving it a more realistic feel).

The idea that a sniper is taking out people in an apartment complex is pretty cool and makes for a good thriller. Sometimes I found it a bit hard to believe... one guy has to watch an entire building and is still able to pick people off within a second of their going near a window (with almost every shot being fatal). Does the killer never sleep or take bathroom breaks? How is he able to have his sights on twenty windows at once?

Bonus points for including a Wilhelm Scream in the film, even if it seemed completely out of place. At least there was one momentary break of humor in this otherwise dark picture.
2013-06-13
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