20 Socially Conscious Horror Movies

5 of 21

Attack the Block (2011)

The Issue: Racism, classism

The Movie:

Attack the Block is technically a sci-fi film and not a horror, but I’m including it anyway because a) monsters are scary, so it counts and b) it was the most socially relevant and aware film to come out in 2011, head and shoulders above The Help.

A nurse named Samantha is walking home through her government housing complex when she is jumped and mugged by a group of teens led by Moses (John Boyega). A meteorite falls from the sky and crashes on a nearby car, which gives Samantha a chance to escape. Moses approaches the car and is scratched by a dog-like creature. The kids catch and kill it and bring it to their drug dealer friend Ron (Nick Frost) to see if they can get money from it. When more meteors start falling, the kids go out in search of more creatures, only to find they are now gorilla sized.

The police arrest Moses for the attack on Samantha, but the aliens track him and attack the police. He escapes and reunites with the gang who are again attacked by the aliens. One of the kids is hurt and Moses takes them all to Samantha’s apartment, now realizing she lived in the same complex as them. Aliens burst in and Moses kills them and Samantha realizes these aliens are legit. She sticks with the kids for safety and they soon figure out Moses has been marked with the aliens pheromones, and that’s why he’s seemingly being targeted.

They use Moses as bait to lure the aliens into his apartment and sets it on fire. The aliens are killed in the blast and Moses narrowly escapes. This is when the police arrive and immediately arrest Moses and the rest of the gang, thinking they had cause all the damage. Samantha defends them and the residents of the block cheer for Moses.

What It’s Saying:

Now this is an action packed comedy about furry aliens, but it’s also insanely progressive. It talks about race and class both explicitly and implicitly, best illuminated in this quote from Moses:

"No, I reckon yeah, I reckon, the Feds sent them anyway. Government probably bred those things to kill black boys. First they sent in drugs, then they sent guns and now they’re sending monsters in to kill us. They don’t care man. We ain’t killing each other fast enough. So they decided to speed up the process."