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Tower Block (2012)

Not Rated | | Thriller | 21 September 2012 (UK)
1:41 | Trailer

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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.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin (as Chris Fulford)
Kane Robinson ...
Ralph Laurila ...
Tony Jayawardena ...


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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


twelve tenants. one sniper. no escape. See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 September 2012 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Francotirador  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In an earlier draft of the script the sniper was the father of the kid who gets killed at the start of the movie. See more »


When the killer gets his gun back Sheridans bra strap moves from halfway down her arm to her shoulder. See more »


References Cockneys vs Zombies (2012) See more »


Written and Performed by Danny Watts
See more »

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User Reviews

In a well-worn genre, a classic trapped ensemble piece that exceeds expectations
7 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

The "tower block" drama has become a sci-fi/horror subgenre in itself. Known as high-rise apartment buildings in the West, they are especially ubiquitous in Europe where they provided cheap postwar housing in countries which didn't have the large tracts of land or economic and political hubris that "allowed" us to build highways and expansive suburbs on this side of the pond. In America, they were primarily constructed in cities as public housing for low income residents displaced by interstate highway construction and leveling of aging dilapidated neighborhoods in the name of "urban renewal." Many of these large projects were built in Eastern Europe by the Soviet regime and have begun to fall apart and be abandoned, mirroring the actions of their government overseers. But everywhere, including Western Bloc countries like the UK, they've fallen into disrepair and are rife with rampant crime and crippling poverty. This is fertile ground for writers of mystery, sci-fi, and horror -- hence the proliferation of films set in these often enigmatic structures.

"Tower Block," the first feature for UK co-directors James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson, focuses on the last remaining residents of the ironically-named Serenity House, a rundown building which is slated for demolition and has been abandoned save for its top floor. Eviction is on the horizon, no authorities are present to ensure anyone's safety, and a boy is brutally attacked with impunity. What happens next will challenge everyone's sanity and sense of moral judgment.

Nunn is an industry veteran, serving as First Assistant Director on two dozen titles prior to this directorial debut. Writer James Moran scripted "Severance," which I saw at my first Toronto Film Festival in 2006 after an auspicious Cannes debut. It was one of the biggest hits on the 2006-07 festival circuit. He also penned "Cockneys vs. Zombies" which played here at Fantastic Fest immediately following my "Tower Block" screening.

Every actor gets kudos for the movie's emotional punch, making it hard to single anyone out. But, as Kurtis, Jack O'Connell provides much of the heart and soul of the film, as well as its dry wit and comic relief. He was clearly the audience favorite here. Sheridan Smith, Jill Baker, Ralph Brown, Loui Batley, Russell Tovey, Steven Cree...all are affecting and outstanding.

Cinematographer Ben Moulden's appropriate reliance on hand-held camera with extreme closeups is crucial in capturing the dangerous confines in which the protagonists attempt to survive. Rapidfire action sequences are ratcheted up by the astute, sharp editing of Kate Coggins.

Lighting serves the narrative perfectly. The typical look of these buildings is cold, with a color palette that pushes the blue and pulls life out of the towers' public spaces, and "Tower Block" doesn't disappoint. Hallway lighting is dim and subdued with shadowy cold spots that often frame the actors in silhouette, almost giving the film a black and white appearance. Apartment interiors are warm with an amber glow, safe spaces where the innocent can find solace, at least for awhile.

Certain genres demand a soundtrack that helps build tension and enhance the desperation of the characters. Owen Morris' original score accomplishes this admirably. Sound design is spectacular and creates a character unto itself. Rarely have sound effects been used so effectively as a plot device in ways the viewer will discover.

This is a classic trapped group in peril piece, set in the narrow, claustrophobic hallways that define the titular tower block. As a familiar subgenre film, we have a general idea where the narrative will take us, so the key to the story lies in the ability of its ensemble cast to arouse audience empathy. Whether old or young, male or female, rough or sweet, mean or compassionate, including parents and children, victors and victims, and those who inevitably transform via dramatically satisfying arcs, there are sympathetic characters for every viewer. We can all relate to one or more of the residents, making palpable their fear and confusion. We become invested in who survives or not, and one thing I can guarantee: you will not be able to predict the outcome. In the end, that's why "Tower Block" exceeds expectations.

What makes the high-rise building fodder for freaky films? Perhaps it's simply the sight of these structures, haunting hulks of concrete and steel that beg the question, "What goes on behind those hundreds of windows?" "Tower Block's" answer? Don't go in. You may never get out.

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