28 Days Later

28 Days Later ★★★

The Zombie genre was going through a bit of a lean time when this new and vibrant twist on the horror concept found an audience back in 2002. Giving us a mix of horror and high-adrenaline action sequences that are truly frenetic and pulse-inducing, this film was more than just a run of the mill gore fest.
Danny Boyle's zombie-apocalypse starts with some of the finest shots of a deserted London ever put on film. Following an attack on a research facility by animal activists, infected monkeys bring carnage to the human population as the "Rage Virus" turns mankind into raging beasts with a blood-lust. At the center of the story is Jim (Cillian Murphy). A bike courier who has been in a coma, he awakes to a nightmare scenario. Alone in a hospital with bodies all around and what could be construed as the aftermath of riots, his confusion almost gets him killed fairly quickly. Saved by a machete-wielding Selena (Naomie Harris)he soon discovers the world he once knew is gone. In need of shelter, they spot a tower block where an illuminated sign offers the chance of safety. Brendan Gleeson and his daughter Hannah (Megan Burns) welcome them after yet another run-in with the infected leaves them shaken. From here though the film shifts in tone when all four decide to travel North to Manchester after a beacon offers the "answer to infection".
The final third of the film for me slightly ruins what had come before. The concept had been intriguing and shot with a keen eye for detail that gave us a post-apocalyptic scenario where there would be few survivors but with the scope for some incredible shots of a society on the brink of extinction. However when the four arrive and are met by a rag-tag group of soldiers who have holed up in a fortified mansion, the four soon become three after Gleeson gets infected and is executed by the soldiers. Hannah, Jim, and Selena are then escorted to their encampment where things take on a sinister tone. Led by Christopher Eccleston's Major West, it soon becomes apparent that the two women are all that is required and a life as a sex-slave awaits them.
This is where I lost my enthusiasm for the film. Did we really need this? It was working nicely as a horror film so why add some potential for gang-rape to the plot? Everything before this was cleverly constructed, but this is where the stars were lost as the premise never quite fulfilled its potential.

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