28 Days Later

A Film Review By The Mike

Rating:RATED R for Violence, Nudity, Language, and GORE!
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Brendan Gleeson
Directed By: Danny Boyle

Final Grade:

I’ve got a task for you – Name the last great horror movie. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Not since the original Halloween have I met a true horror film I’d give a perfect rating. That’s 25 years in my book. We’ve been bombarded with Friday the 13th and Scream style stalker films since then, along with some solid yet unspectacular vampire and werewolf efforts (An American Werewolf in London, From Dusk till Dawn, and Fright Night standing out) and a bunch of rehashed haunted house stories (The Haunting and House on Haunted Hill remakes, most notably). So when I sat down to watch 28 Days Later, the most buzzed about horror film since that cooky Blair Witch, I, like always, was praying that the trend of lackluster horror efforts was not going to apply. I got my wish.

In short, 28 Days Later is the story of Jim, a man who wakes up in a hospital after being in a kind of coma for a few weeks and finds himself alone. Not alone in the room, but alone in the hospital, and seemingly alone in London. This sets up some beautiful shots of him wandering a completely deserted London. Soon he finds he is not alone (mostly through a interesting scene when he wanders into a church and finds a sort of zombie nest), but then also finds a few remaining souls who (by great coincidence) happen to be near to save his life. Soon they’re forming a unit and traveling by day to try and reach a military complex that may no longer exist, and may not be too helpful either.

I’ve watched 28 Days Later thrice now, and am still amazed by it. It’s a horror film that borrows heavily from George Romero (Although the comparisons are more visible with his sequel Dawn of the Dead than the classic Night of the Living Dead), yet still sets its own boundaries and rules. These are not your father’s zombies, moving like rabid monkeys who’ve watched Jaws one to many times and want to think (and eat) like that titular Great White. Romero’s Zombies were scary because they were creepy in their monotonous motion and slow pace, these Zombies don’t take enough time to be creepy until they’re gnawing at your flesh.

Like Romero’s Zombie films, the heart of 28 Days Later rests not in the horror of these strange zombies, but in the realization that the bigger threat to man’s existence is man itself. Questions of morality and belief in the human way are raised often. The film makes sure that its basis is not only in visceral scares, but also in the intellectual scares that one receives from wondering what would happen to them in this scenario, and from wondering if the zombies are the scariest creatures we meet. Name the last time a true horror film did that and did it well!

Danny Boyle deserves nothing but praise for putting together this film, especially with its budget. The cast does an admirable job, especially Murphy as the heroic lead. The zombies look great, and the special effects and gore are perfect for the film. There’s nothing not to like about this film.

Upon a lot of thought, and several viewings, I can’t recommend 28 Days Later enough. As a horror film fanatic, I was engrossed by every second of its runtime, and can’t wait to see it on the big screen. I hope it translates as well to the average American audience, as this is a film that could be misunderstood by the masses. If you know what to expect, and are ready for a film that will thrill both your senses and your mind, then check your doubts at the door and check out 28 Days Later. You shouldn’t be disappointed.

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