Tower Block (film)

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Tower Block
Tower Block poster.png
Theatrical movie poster
Directed by James Nunn
Ronnie Thompson
Produced by
  • James Harris
  • Mark Lane
  • Ronnie Thompson
Written by James Moran
Music by Owen Morris
Cinematography Ben Moulden
Creative Media
Tea Shop & Film Company
Distributed by Earth Star Entertainment
Icon Film Distribution
Koch Media
Shout! Factory
Release dates
  • 21 September 2012 (2012-09-21)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Tower Block is a British thriller film directed by James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson and written by James Moran. The film stars Sheridan Smith, Jack O'Connell, Ralph Brown, and Russell Tovey and entails residents of an block of flats targeted by an unseen sniper after witnessing the murder of a teenager. Tower Block was theatrically released in the United Kingdom on 21 September 2012 and was also the closing film at the 2012 FrightFest Film Festival.[1]


Since the Second World War, blocks of flats emerged as places for affordable living, but fell into a breeding ground for crime and violence, leaving re-developers to demolish most of them except Tower Block 31, where only the top floor residents refuse to leave. One night in London, England, the tenants witness the murder of 15-year-old boy, Jimmy (Ralph Laurila). Only one person, Becky (Sheridan Smith), tries to help the boy from his masked attackers, but she is left unconscious. Detective DC Devlin (Steven Cree) and his partners attempt to identity the culprits, but they receive zero leads from all tenants who fear to get involved.

Three months later on a Friday, more is revealed about the building dwellers; Amy (Loui Batley) has relationship problems with Jeff (Jordan Long), Daniel (Harry McEntire) is a computer game addict his mother Carol (Julie Graham) worries for, Jenny (Montserrat Lombard) has two kids and parenting issues, Becky (Sheridan Smith) has feelings for her co-worker Ryan (Jamie Thomas King), Kurtis (Jack O'Connell) is the building’s obnoxious protection racketeer, Gary (Nabil Elouahabi) and Mark (Kane Robinson) are drug dealers, and Paul (Russell Tovey) is an alcoholic. Saturday morning when Becky has Ryan at her flat, he is shot in the head through the kitchen window and dies. This triggers various sniper shootings; Daniel’s father is shot dead, Gary is nearly shot but his friend Mark gets hit in the leg, Neville (Ralph Brown) saves his wife Violet (Jill Baker) from an incoming bullet, Paul is nearly shot, and Amy, shot in the hand and stomach, and Jeff, shot in the arm, are injured. The chaotic situation brings everyone together in the hallway, where Amy dies as a result of her injuries.

They all try to figure out the nearby sniper and the motive. Carol believes it’s the building re-developers trying to rid them. Kurtis thinks the sniper is a psychopath, but Becky realises the shooter is highly organised, having shut down the area transmission coverage and elevator. The staircase makes them an easy target with its windows, so they resort to using the ladder in the elevator shaft to get to the first floor after Jeff is killed by a sniper trap inside, which they manage to disable. Becky, Kurtis and Paul reach the first floor, only to discover the exit is blocked off. Heading back up, many start to assume the emoticons seen in the building based on the three wise monkeys, symbolize karma for not helping the homicide case or boy who was killed. At this point, Jenny abruptly directs herself to be killed by the sniper, mourning her dead kids who were victims.

After Kurtis interrogates Gary and Mark, they admit they had beat up the boy for not paying his end of a drug deal, unintentionally killing him. Furious, Kurtis then attacks Mark and an injured Gary to have them shot dead by the sniper. Believing they’re all innocent since the boy’s killers were shot dead, Carol attempts to escape with her son, Daniel, and they are killed by the sniper. On Sunday as ideas run thin for escape, Paul offers himself as a signal for help on the building rooftop. When the group access the locked rooftop door, Violet is shot and killed and her husband Neville grieves over her. Becky, Kurtis and Paul makes it out on the roof, where Paul descends the building on a strap, but he falls to his death after the sniper shoots and severs the strap.

While Becky and Neville head down the lift shaft ladder, they have Kurtis set fire to a top floor flat to alert help to the building. When Kurtis climbs down the ladder afterwards, he drops some distance and badly injures his leg. Becky and Neville find him. A construction worker and his associate soon arrive, but the sniper guns them down at close range much to the notice of the remaining survivors. They hide while the sniper throws in a smoke bomb before entering the building, and Becky sneaks out, finding a nail gun in the construction worker’s vehicle. Back inside, Becky, Neville and Kurtis ultimately work together to subdue the sniper and remove the sniper's mask to find out it is the detective, DC Devlin, who holds a grudge against the tenants for their noncooperation in the murder case. After a struggle, Becky uses the nail gun to shoot the sniper several times in the mouth, killing him instantly. Following that, Becky, Kurtis and Neville walk out of the dark building and freely into the sunlight, as the police sirens sound off.



Simon Crook of Empire Magazine gave the film 3 out of 5, stating, "An unusual, scuzzy setting for a thriller that delivers with brutal simplicity."[2] with Sky also giving it 3 out of 5.[3] Phelim O'Neill of The Guardian 2 out of 3. Jordan Mintzer The Hollywood Reporter for the Berlin International Film Festival "Making up for its high concept/low brainpower scenario with some nifty action sequences and energetic performances, this rather promising directorial debut from duo James Nunn and Ronnie Thompson should foreclose at genre fests and ancillary outings worldwide."[4] Allan Hunter for The Express "It doesn't sound like a great premise but this is surprisingly taut and involving thanks to some resourceful film-making and eye-catching acting."[5] Film4's Terry Mulcahy states that, "Despite its relative simplicity, Tower Block packs a punch that's best experienced fresh - so steer clear of spoilers!"[6] Rotten Tomatoes gives the film 50%[7] with the IMDB giving it 5.9 out of 10.[8] heDD Magazine reviewed the film, stating that it is, "Easily the best British film for 2012", with the Sunday Times, Starburst Magazine, and Box Office Buzz giving it 4 out of 4 stars, with Box Office Buzz stating that it is a "brutal ride of suspense and tension."


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