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28 Days Later (2002)

  Directed by: Danny Boyle
Written by: Alex Garland
Starring: Megan Burns, Brendan Gleeson, Naomie Harris, Noah Huntley, Cillian Murphy
Links: 28 Days Later on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Sci-Fi

This movie gets: 4.00 (2 ratings)
nofreelist.com Ranking: Ranked equal 172nd of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

28 Days Later (2002) is also mentioned in andy-j's review of Dawn of the Dead (2004).

"Pretty terrible, really" - a review by pearly

28 Days Later. Thankfully, it's not a sequel to 28 Days (2000), that delightful piece of trash starring Sandra Bullock. Regardless, I've still had to listen to mino make that exact joke every bloody time I've mentioned this film. To hell with you Paul! You make my every waking moment a nightmare. In much the same way as every waking moment is whilst watching 28 Days Later.

Well, maybe not quite. But it rounded off my rant nicely, don't you think?

In truth, 28 Days Later isn't excruciating enough to have you tearing your eyes from their sockets, but it's not exactly what I would call quality viewing either. It's set in the UK, where a mysterious virus has taken over, and only a few uninfected souls remain, desperately trying not to mix blood with the infected, who have all become as crazy and bloodthirsty as a vampire at breakfast time.

First, we have Jim (Cillian Murphy). He was unconscious when the virus began to spread, and he wakes up to find that London is deserted. He wanders the streets, getting a little freaked out by it all, and miraculously manages to make it out alive, when he bumps into Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley). You can tell almost straight away that Selena is going to be the love interest for Jim, because they don't like each other.

After some fun and hijinks killing any infected person they come across while going through some near misses themselves, they meet up with Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns). Frank has tuned a radio in, and hears of a place where they have supposedly found a cure for the virus. And so, off the little group head to find salvation.

The premise for 28 Days Later reminded me, more than a little bit, of the backstory to 12 Monkeys (1995): a virus capable of wiping out the entire human population, which began with a bunch of monkeys. Unfortunately, the way that this film took this idea was totally different and not nearly as interesting. Put simply, it's a thriller. Just when you think that our heroes are going to be okay, something else happens to jeopardise their lives.

And thus, you have the group claiming to have the cure for the virus - the storyline which takes up the second half of the film. It annoyed me that the film went in this direction. It was all too obvious and heavy-handed for my liking. Either the film wants to be a mindless thriller with a bit of sci-fi appeal thrown in for good measure, or it wants to be a comment on society. It shouldn't have tried to be a half-arsed attempt at both. Yuck.

On the DVD, there's a bonus section which storyboards an alternate ending for the film. The storyboard reaches about halfway, and then the voiceover says something along the lines of "Then we hit a dead end. We'd already established that a single drop of blood could infect a person, and in this ending, we wanted people to believe it was possible to cure someone via an entire blood tranfusion. It just wasn't believable!". Perhaps not, but if Alex Garland, the writer, has the foresight to realise how crappy this ending would have been, why couldn't he have done something about the actual ending?

pearly gives this movie 4 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 21 Jun 2004

"28 Days too long. Seen it before. Okay, what's next?" - a review by citizenjoe

28 Days Later is directed by Danny Boyle who brought us such terrific movies as Trainspotting (1996) and Shallow Grave (1994).

What has happened to him?

Before this he made a movie called Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise (2001). And I'm not going any further with that one. You could probably also forgive him for directing The Beach (2000) with Leonardo DiCaprio. Well, this one takes the cake.

Okay, at the beginning of 28 Days Later, a group of Animal Liberationists break into a laboratory and release the test monkeys who have been infected with the "Rage" virus. Once you are bitten by a carrier, within seconds you froth at the mouth, flay wildly like a buffoon, walk or run as if you were handicapped and attack anything that is in your way. With 28 Days, it has wiped out all of London.

Anyway, the best part of the film was seeing the main character, Jim (Cillian Murphy) walking through a deserted London. Absolutely stunning. That must have been some organizational feat and well worth seeing.

Obviously all of England has been wiped out due to the Rage virus. All that's left are the infected and a few "normal" people who have somehow escaped being bitten.

I have heard a number of reviewers call this movie scary. I was trying to remember if I fell asleep during the screening and missed any scary bits. No, I'm sure I didn't. It's about as scary as Bambi (1942) knocking on your front door and shouting "Boo!" when you open it.

Jim and his new found "normals" catch a cab to get out of town and it's all downhill from there. You could almost guess every turn that happens to them as they try to escape from the infected. Everything seems predictable. Like you have seen it before.

After such a promising couple of movies, Danny Boyle seemed the next very, very big thing. He is fantastic with actors and character. There's very little of this in 28 Days Later. It's the story that drags it along, as there's very little character development. In fact, the characters hardly even appeal. Toward the end you start to cheer for the infected.

citizenjoe gives this movie 4 out of 10.
Review created on Sat 25 Oct 2003

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 4.00
Lowest rating: 4 (by pearly, citizenjoe)
Highest rating: 4 (by pearly, citizenjoe)
 
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Reader comments

  1. the scene where jim walks through london alone would be worth 5/10 if the movie finished there. Fortunately for the viewer it doesn't. The story is riveting. The movie, although not scary, provides many tense moments. The only part of the movie that i felt at all disapointed by was the ending which i feel was a let down to the surreal atmosphere of the movie. The themes behind the storyline were also perfectly interwoven.

    Rating given: 9

    A comment from daniel on Wed 01 Sep 2004 22:00 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 9.00 (1 rating)

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