28 Days Later

28 Days Later ★★★½

Signifying the dawn of a new era of post-apocalyptic horror, Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later is the biggest leap zombie horror has taken ever since George A. Romero established the sub-genre in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead. The film discards the now outdated concept of reanimated corpses & replaces it with a contemporary idea of a viral epidemic, thus changing the supernatural phenomenon into a physiological one.

The movie opens with a prologue that teases with the origin of a highly contagious virus which amplifies the rage behaviour in infected humans, thus turning them into aggressive, zombie-like beings. The story concerns Jim who wakes up in an abandoned hospital 28 days after the disease outbreak only to find the entire city of London completely deserted. The story focuses on the struggle of Jim & few other survivors who try to cope with this unexpected turn of events.

Directed by Danny Boyle, the film is as enjoyable & entertaining as it is inventive in reimagining the entire notion of the living dead. The concept takes a more realistic approach than before, adds several upgrades to the zombies' characteristics & many of the sequences depicted in the film serve as an allegory to various current events happening around the world. Screenplay lacks a certain level of depth yet it manages to work well for the most part.

Cinematography makes excellent use of digital photography with many sequences having the appearance of being shot on a camcorder, whose grainy resolution adds a grisly tone to the whole picture. Editing skilfully trims & rearranges the different angles into one chaotic shot throughout its runtime and never lets the viewers settle down. And John Murphy's score covers a wide range but the best track is saved for & plays a key role in its perfectly executed climax.

Coming to the acting department, the film features an unusual cast in Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson & Megan Burns but it's their balanced performances and wonderful chemistry with each other which adds considerable warmth to a rather gloomy feature. Also, the decision to make the zombies run faster rather instead of limping all the way through turns out to be a masterstroke as it makes them all the more frightening than ever before.

On an overall scale, 28 Days Later infuses new life into the genre that was slowly heading towards its grave, and presents Danny Boyle at the top of his game. It begins a new era of zombie horror & its influence can already be felt in many flicks of its genre that followed it. Violent, chaotic & unsettling yet beautiful, amusing & entertaining, 28 Days Later is one flick no horror fanatic should miss out. Thoroughly recommended.

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