Review: Comedown / Cert: 15 / Director: Menhaj Huda / Screenplay: Steven Kendall / Starring: Geoff Bell, Adam Deacon, Jacob Anderson, Calum McNab, Duane Henry, Sophie Stuckey Jessica Barden / Release Date: March 11th
Typical. You wait years for a tower block-based thriller and then two come along in the space of a couple of months. But whereas James Moran’s suspenseful Tower Block fell at the final hurdle in a head-scratchingly disappointing denouement, Menaj Huda’s more visceral Comedown has to battle against a sluggish pace and a cast of gratingly unsympathetic characters whose deaths come as a relief because it means the audience has to endure one less irritating, shouty, self-obsessed teenager, the sort of kids this reviewer is more likely to cross the street to avoid, in all honesty.
Huda previously directed the more accomplished Kidulthood and he’s back on familiar territory here (in every sense of the word) in the story of Lloyd (Anderson), just out of prison and keen to stay out of trouble for the sake of his pregnant girlfriend Jemma (Stuckey). But Lloyd is tempted by some of his loud friends to rig up a pirate radio station aerial at the top of a grim and deserted tower block. Once it's installed, it quickly becomes clear that the group are more intent on partying than broadcasting to London’s yoof, but the party turns into a nightmare when Jemma goes missing. She’s not the last, and before long the group are picked off one by one, falling prey to someone (or something!) prowling the dark, grubby corridors of the tower block. Actually, we won’t build your hopes up; it’s a someone, a lone psychopath stalking the tower block for his own gruesome ends.
Well, we’ve all been here before, of course and in some ways Comedown is almost comfortably familiar as it deftly deals with the clichés inherent in its scenario. Huda’s tight, slick direction teases maximum tension from the film’s dark, cramped setting and there are a few effective shock moments and grisly death sequences. But with the core characters being so one-dimensionally dislikeable, it’s hard to get really caught up in their predicament or escape the conclusion that they’ve brought all this on themselves by breaking into a building they’ve really no right to be in. But it’s a well-made, watchable film, another British genre movie criminally ignored by UK distributors who’d much rather fill up our multiplexes with six screens all showing the latest Twilight (Nooooo…!) rather than give struggling homegrown talent a bit of a helping hand. But Comedown will nevertheless find an appreciative, if undemanding, audience, on DVD and Blu-ray.
Extras: Behind the scenes / Extended interviews with selected cast and director.