28 Days Later Review
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There are few things scarier than reanimated rotting corpses hungry for human flesh—and reanimated rotting corpses hungry for human flesh that move really fast is one of them. 28 Days Later feels like Romero's Dead Trilogy (Night, Dawn, and Day) jacked up on speed.

The film opens with militant fashioned animal activists breaking into a lab to liberate tortured monkeys—television screens flicker multiple images of human atrocities on a back wall, hinting at one of the overall themes of the film. One chimp is strapped to a chair before the screens in A Clockwork Orange fashion—which is not to say the chimp is wearing an all white outfit, suspenders, a black bowler, and a cod piece, but that he is forced to watch these scenes of carnage. These monkeys are infected with rage, a virus transmitted through blood and salvia that sends its victims into a permanent homicidal fury.

  
 
After the rage epidemic has swept through London—twenty-eight days later, to be precise—turning most of the population into slobbering, disjointed, hyper-exaggerated, arm-flaying, body-spazzing zombies (in short, ghoulish renditions of Joe Cocker), Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up in a hospital. He is oblivious to the obliteration that has gone on around him, stumbling into the apocalyptic aftermath where he pairs with other survivors, eventually including Selena (Naomie Harris), Frank (Brendan Gleeson), and Hannah (Megan Burns), who compose a makeshift family, heading north in pursuit of "a cure to infection."

Divided into two main chapters, the film amply borrows from the Romero classics—including the aforementioned Dead Trilogy and his lesser-known, pre-Dawn, post-Night film The Crazies (involving a military designed virus that inadvertently is released on a small Pennsylvania town, resulting in psychotic behavior). Rather than rely on special effects-driven gore—which there is plenty of as well—director Danny Boyle employs newer digital techniques and accelerated editing to give the film a grittier, spastic quality to match the on-screen action. The film's most effective tool, however, is the old -fashioned element of suspense—the grit only feeding an emotional texture of tension that runs throughout.

This "cure" turns out to be a military outpost run by Major Henry West (Christopher Eccleston), where, just as in Romero's Day, the action centers more on the human conflict between the survivors and the military (and symbolically humanity versus bureaucracy)—with the infected being more background material.

28 Days Later is a superb horror movie, weaving our conscious social fears (epidemics of global proportions—notably, AIDS and anthrax; uncontrollable violence) with fantastic ones (uhhh…zombies) driving at striking comments about our culture (our hyper-consuming ways will eventually consume us)—thus doing justice to its cinematic heritage.

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