Review of '28 Days Later'

28_days_later.jpg At an animal testing facility in Cambridge a group of animal rights activists free some chimps despite being warned they have been infected with a virus…“rage”. The chimps quickly infect the activists who immediately turn into psychotic, unthinking maniacs determined to kill anyone they find. A subtitle is shown “28 days later…” and we find Jim (Cillian Murphy), a London bicycle courier, alone in a hospital having just woken from a coma brought on by an accident. He roams the streets of an eerily deserted London then entering a church he finds a large number of dead. Making a noise he is instantly attacked by the infected priest. Fleeing the scene he meets the tough Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley) who are uninfected and are simply trying to survive in the city. Unconvinced of the catastrophe that has befallen the country Jim insists on visiting his parents' house only to find they have both committed suicide. Later they discover an older man Mr. Bridges (Alexander Delamere) and his daughter holed up in an apartment. On the radio they hear a signal from north of Manchester, many hundreds of miles away, where they say they have a cure…packing up a taxi they set out on the long journey…

This is a truly disturbing zombie apocalypse film which has the neat twist of the zombies being incredibly fast and terribly brutal. Filmed with a fairly small budget, though still looking great, this does not get in the way of telling the bleak story written by Alex Garland (who also wrote “The Beach”). No one is safe as we see from early on with Mark quickly dispatched soon after meeting Jim – When someone becomes infected they must immediately be killed before they can attack you. The action here here happens at a frenetic speed which is frequently hard to follow as the blood splashes across the screen. A great deal of the film we are very much unclear of what is going on, much like Jim as he seeks to figure out what has happened and what to do next. Having said that, the story is quite straightforward and convincing though the ending is a bit of a cop-out if you ask me.

The acting is superb with Cillian Murphy willing to bear all – both physically and emotionally – as he struggles to make sense of what his world has become. Christopher Eccleston is utterly convincing as the Major Henry West, trying to maintain order in a world gone mad but conflicted with guilt at the decisions he has been forced to make. This is a long way from his role in Dr Who. Naomie Harris is chilling as the brutal survivalist she has had to become, personable one moment and bashing out your brains (literally) the next. Forced to make decisions she would never have before the crisis.

A horrifying picture of a future we hope we will never experience. Not for the squeamish.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2021-05-15

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Studio: DNA Films

Year: 2002

Length: 113 minutes

Genre: Horror

Other reviewed films by Danny Boyle: