Title: 28 Days Later (2002)
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, and Christopher Eccleston.
Director: Danny Boyle
Genres: Zombie, Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Zombie Horror, Drama, British Cinema
There has always been competition between British and American cinema and TV. Whether it be action, thrillers, chick-flick, or horror, both nations have brought key actors to the forefront of the public eye, and have given us, as viewers, a smorgasbord of excellent films and stars to watch. And with the ‘zombie’ genre, this has been a particular category that both the American and British cinema have cracked. After George A. Romero’s 1968 movie, Night of the Living Dead, we have been swamped with excellent television shows such as The Walking Dead and movies such as World War Z, but it is Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later which has been credited as reinvigorating the zombie genre of films in the early 2000s, and showing that Britain can create zombies which are both terrifying, and fast.
The familiar scenario of the breakdown of society, following the outbreak of the contagious zombie virus and decimating the population of the world is a strong backdrop to this film. However, unlike other zombie films, these zombies are more human in a sense. They run incredibly fast, and have the ability to climb and accomplish more human-esque tasks, such as overcoming obstacles to get to their prey, which is something that zombies have never been able to do in the past. Also, unlike other zombie films, there is a reason for the infection. A man-made virus known as Rage is shown to be tested on
apes in the first five minutes, and then being accidentally released, therefore fleshing out the story. This ‘Rage’ does exactly what it says on the bottle, as it sends the infected into an extreme and perpetual state of extreme anger. This makes them become ever deadlier, and more determined.
We follow the protagonist, Jim, as he wakes from a coma in a deserted hospital in the midst of London and begins to search for survivors and answers. Along the way, he finds a motley crew of survivors and travels to what seems like a sanctuary, a survivor camp set up in a manor house and fortified by the army. However, all does not appear to be a sweet and proper as it first set out to be. With the struggle for power being the key for survival, Jim finds himself thrust into a civil war with those he thought he could trust.
As discussed, along the way Jim finds a band of survivors. And each of them is unique, lovable and different, and yes, some of them have tragic outcomes, but what I find makes this film so good is the quality of the acting, as well as the tension that just oozes out. Compared to traditional slow-moving zombies, Boyle’s are more ‘jump-scary’, as due to their speed, they can just appear, and it makes a chase scene incredibly tense. With a brilliant cast of actors – Irish star Cillian Murphy playing the lead, and Christopher Eccleston as the army major – this film does tug at the heartstrings in different ways. With Boyle’s direction, and Alex Garland’s screenplay (author of The Beach), this film certainly knows how to make an impact. Some of the most haunting scenes in the film show usual busy areas of London, such as Piccadilly Circus, completely deserted, and Murphy as being the only figure. And with the soundtrack, there is a eclectic mixture of tracks, such as Granddaddy’s A.M. 180, which adds to the surrealness of the film, and oddly fits in with the whole end-of-the-world feel.
All in all, this film definitely brought life to the zombie genre. To me, it did pave the way for new zombie enthusiasts, such as myself and it did put a high British standard into the zombie genre.
So what do you think? Please comment below if you have any opinions on the zombie genre, or any suggestions for new reviews!
This film is out on DVD to watch, but please remember that it is rated an 18/R.
So, if you enjoyed:
- The Walking Dead
- World War Z
- Trainspotting (Another Danny Boyle film)
I think you’ll enjoy this!