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Tower Block

5/10

Stars: Sheridan Smith, Jack O’Connell, Ralph Brown, Russell Tovey, Christopher Fulford, Jill Baker, Steven Cree, Nabil Elouahabi, Christopher Fulford, Julie Graham, Jamie Thomas King

Director: James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson

This week’s British low-budget shocker, first screened at Frightfest, is efficient enough without being particularly notable. One of its major plusses (for me, at any rate) is its relative shortness. It would seem that James ‘Severance’ Moran’s memories of other siege thrillers such as Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 have subconsciously influenced his screenplay which has the luckless residents of the top floor of an about-to-be-demolished London Tower Block being killed off one by one, Agatha Christie-style, by a murderous sniper. And all possible exits have been taken care of…

First-time dual directors James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson have clearly seen enough genre thrillers to ensure they mostly get it right. They generate sufficient suspense to last up to the rather contrived denouement and, given the patently low budget and necessarily mainly claustrophobic settings inside the building, Tower Block satisfies basic requirements without adding anything new to the genre. Apart, that is, from using the latest horror film cliche, the cellphone that cannot get a signal at a time of terror.

Former TV ('Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps' star Sheridan Smith (also in Hysteria) suffers nobly as the key East End character fighting for her life, while Jack OÂ’Connell goes at his role of drugged-up comedy thug like a starving actor suddenly being handed a big, fatty ham.

Alan Frank

UK 2012. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour.
90 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 20 Sep 2012