28 Days Later

28 Days Later ★★★★½

Sunday Morning Review!

Staying alive's as good as it gets.

In the early 2000's horror was at an odd place. Without knowing it, the world of horror was moving towards remakes, reimaginings, and found footage gags, so there were a few key films that threatened to change the pace of horror films to come and shake up the norm a bit. While 28 Days Later was a familiar sub-genre, it was pulled off in a unique fashion and managed to have remarkably human emotions in a film populated by snarling, bloody infected husks.

Danny Boyle drops us right in the middle of the apocalypse without showing the beginning panic and the failure of military, but instead like we are just waking up in the middle of it. As Cillian Murphy walks out into the empty, trash littered streets of a zombie infected London, we imply alot from its loneliness and most of the chaos that took place there is born from our own imagination. It's amazing how much atmosphere and implications Boyle created by simply blocking off a street in London for a couple of simple shots. 28 Days Later looks and sounds like a small film and in many ways is very minimalistic. But this does wonders as it builds great humanistic and visceral atmosphere amongst the chaos and brings a realistic element to character development. As soon as Jim hits the streets and begins his fight for survival against those infected with the "Rage" virus, every step of his journey from his first encounters with the creatures to his first human friendships, it all feels authentic. Both the emotion and the fear.

I think the Rage virus infected "zombies" are some of the most stressful movie monsters in existence. They sprint. They're silent. They are strong. One bite turns you in about 15 seconds. Also, one drop of their blood and or saliva in your eyes, mouth, or open wound will also turn you. Yikes. In days of old, you felt like you had the upper hand when it was a character versus just one zombie. But here, just one of these zamboni's can put you up you-know-what creek without a paddle. This creates a very tense atmosphere like nowhere is safe for a prolonged period of time and that one tiny mistake can threaten everything. No character is safe, either. One particularly likable character lets you find this out the hard way. Even the places that seem the most safe are in fact not. A very surreal and tragic climax at a military outpost is a great example. Everyone at this film is way beyond their breaking point and everyone is completely and utterly broken down. This creates a very specific tone but also allows characters to flourish in this terrible situation. Because after all, people show their true colors in the face of disaster. Sometimes its blood red.

Acclaimed director Danny Boyle really created a surprise hit here. It's scary as hell, has great atmosphere, human characters and singlehandedly resurrected the zombie craze in the modern age. Whether or not that's a bad thing is up to you to decide. Filming with a digital camera gave the film its visceral visual quality but also its personal touch. In Danny Boyle's apocalypse, human situations are things like somberly walking through your childhood home in a zombie infected neighborhood and reminiscing about events, or seeing a father and daughters bond remain strong and untouched by the chaos around them. Or how about soldiers, who are supposed to be out last beacon of hope turn against us on their own free will. These human struggles are loaded with emotions, tenderness and sometimes moral struggles. According to a certain zombie television show (which I won't name drop. Hehehue) thinks that the human struggles we want to see include fucking finding toilet paper or find out who got who pregnant.


28 Days Later is one of the most important horror films of the new age and is an interested addition to Danny Boyle's directorial career. It's a great film in its own right when you strip away the genre and subgenre. Watch it again if you haven't in a while. I find that it has gotten better as I've gotten older. Do it.

Also listen to that track from the soundtrack during the climax at the military base.

That tune still gives me chills, man.

Block or Report

Larry liked this review