Posted on December 15, 2004 by Flames
28 Days Later…
Written by Alex Garland
Directed by Danny Boyle
Public synopsis: A powerful virus escapes from a British research facility. Transmitted in a drop of blood and devastating within seconds, the virus locks those infected into a permanent state of murderous rage. Within 28 days the country is overwhelmed and a handful of survivors begin their attempts to salvage a future, little realizing that the deadly virus is not the only thing that threatens them.
Well that’s just the blurb that is given to the general audience via the back of the video box. But this movie amounts to so much more than most people could have anticipated. A very finely crafted movie with a cast that delivers some top-notch performances and a story that’s sure to keep you in your seat. I’ll try not to give away too much in the way of spoilers but I’m sure a few will leak their way in.
The story revolves around one character named Jim (Cillian Murphy) who wakes up from a coma in an abandoned hospital. With no idea of what has happened over the last 28 days he wanders around London in search of somebody, anybody, to tell him what’s going on. It is his story that is told, and how it affects some of the other survivors that he finds and journeys with throughout the film.
Many of the shots are eerie to nearly any viewer, including those who have never been to London the UK in general, like me. The emptiness of the city around major tourist attractions, large city streets bare of any signs of life, vehicles abandoned and everything left to its own devices. A very odd view indeed. This is something that they make a point of showing throughout the movie. From the deserted highways to stores with goods still on the shelves, they want to make it a point that there is nobody left.
Well nobody but the infected. The devastation was caused by the release of a super virus that will turn anybody into a murderous killer within seconds. There is no cure save death from this terrible affliction. In another good move by the writer and director is that they point out that panic caused almost as much, if not more, damage than the virus itself. People trying to flee the city packed airports and trampled each other. Now all that are left are those trying to either kill you or those who are just trying to survive.
Another major character is a young woman named Selena (Naomie Harris). A very bitter and hardcore survivor who will leave anybody behind that may slow her down and get her killed. She has absolutely no problem with killing an infected by whatever means necessary if it appears you may be infected then she considers you that way.
Later in the film they meet up with two other survivors Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his young daughter Hannah (Megan Burns) who have been holding out in a high-rise apartment complex. Together they formulate a plan to travel to a location just outside of Manchester where a radio broadcast of a recording is telling all survivors to go. A place where the military are supposedly holding out against the infected and are claiming to have the cure to the virus.
After a cross-country trip where we get to see much more of the carnage caused over the last 28 days they finally arrive at the destination. It is here that we are introduced to another group of characters, Corporal Mitchell (Ricci Harnett) and his nine surviving soldiers. They have been holding out in a fancy countryside mansion, the entire grounds have been covered with floodlights and land mines as they fight a continuous battle against the infected that swarm out of Manchester.
After a while you start to see that this movie is not so much based upon surviving the infected but also based upon ones ability to not turn into something just as bad as they are. In a world where everything has gone to hell one must hold onto their humanity no matter what. Because without it you are lost as the infected are. It also shows what a person is capable of when they are forced to do when confronted with only one right thing to do.
This film is such an excellent mix of well-written dialogue, excellent cinematography, wonderful direction and a very captivating story. They went beyond making a normal horror movie and made something so very much better that it is sure to be talked about for a while to come.
Check out the DVD version for extra endings, including one radically different ending that was never filmed but is shown through storyboards with voice over commentary. Several deleted scenes, some of which show events that never even took place in the final cut. The excellent film trailers are worth watching again; just for the hook that they originally used to get audiences are also present. There is also the extra bit called ‘Pure Rage’ which is a behind the scenes look at the movie.
So in the end I give this movie a five out of five. Much to my surprise even. I wasn’t expecting something this good when I sat down to watch it. So if like a good horror movie, or a psychological look at the development of characters in a situation of disaster, then pick this movie up.
Reviewer: Peter Amthor