Tuesday, October 10, 2017

28 Days Later… (2002)


Danny Boyle is a director with a distinct visual style that always engages the viewer at some level. Sometimes the film itself doesn’t always work, but no director is perfect.  These days most people seem to talk about Trainspotting or Slumdog Millionaire when discussing Boyle’s career. Not too many folks mention this one, but 28 Days Later… may be the film that kicked off a whole new era of zombie flicks.


Jim (Cillian Murphy) awakens naked and alone in a hospital. After he leaves his room, he stumbles around the building finding it deserted. When he steps outside into London itself, he finds the once teeming streets completely empty. Jim is desperately confused until he runs into a group of enraged humans rushing at him with blood dripping from their eyes and mouth. Jim is saved by Selena (Naomie Harris) and learns that a devastating plague has spread through England that turns humans into ranting raving killing machines. Get any blood inside you and you are done for.

Jim and Selena begin a journey of survival that takes them out of London and possibly toward some kind of rescue to the north. Along the way they meet Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Megan Burns) as well as Major West (Christopher Eccleston sans sonic screwdriver). Is there any hope of survival or is this only the beginning of the end of the world?

Good Points:
  • Captures the feeling of bleak dread
  • Excellent acting by a committed cast
  • Some intense camera work and style

Bad Points:
  • Those looking for non-stop zombie thrills will find some of the movie slow
  • The second half of the film may annoy some viewers
  • The visual style may be too intense for some viewers 


This is the film that brought about the whole “fast zombie” craze that dominated the horror genre for a while. So depending on how you feel about that, you may dislike this film on principle. But beyond the impact to the genre, you have a very intense well-made horror film. The scenes of Jim wandering a vacant London are chilling. The movie also does a good job of presenting its theme of human capacity to always find a new way to delve deeper into darkness. Makes for a nice alternative to the usual zombie fare, and Boyle’s stylistic direction brings it all together.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals:  4
Sound: 4
Acting:  4
Script:  3
Music: 3
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.

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  1. I’m not a big fan of zombie flicks whether the classic kind (complete with voodoo priests), the lumbering “Night of the Living Dead” kind, or the fast zombie kind. That, however, is a rule of thumb rather than a law, and I do on rare occasion count on other fingers. This is one such occasion. I like this nicely constructed movie and the question it raises about whether ethics still count for anything when survival and the future are at stake.

    1. After my first viewing way back when, I didn't really remember the thematic elements. I was so disturbed by the fast zombies. This time around I was able to really get into the ideas the film was about. I'm not the biggest zombie fan either (liked "Zombieland" though), but this one transcends the usual tropes and was something a bit more interesting.