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28 Days Later
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28 Days Later (2002)

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Plot Summary:
"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 realising that the deadly virus is not the only thing that threatens them."

Reviewer: Tariq Rafiq @horrorasylum
Location:South Bucks, UK
Review Date: 13 August 2004 My Rating: out of 5


A good but flawed film telling an all too familiar story. A killer virus is unleashed killing everyone but a handful of people.

The first half of the film is full of promise, suspenseful, shocking and bleak. It shows our characters having to survive by making some very difficult and horrific decisions. They are, however, doing what they must in order to survive. They soon realise that they need to do more than just survive, that their existence needs to have some higher purpose. And so progresses their story of seeking some escape from this life.

Unfortunately, it is all downhill after that. The second half of the film descends into an 'Arnie'style, shoot-em-up movie. All logic and creativity are lost to the god of explosions, guns and overblown, cartoon heroics. It goes from being an interesting post-apocalyptic film, ala 'Mad Max', to a run around and kill the bad guys film, ala 'Die Hard'.

I have never thought much of the work of the director Danny Boyle. His most famous work, 'Trainspotting' was another good but flawed film in my opinion. Cited as being the closest you will get to drugs culture without actually taking part yourself, the main success of the film lay in the source material he used. The film did not paint the same grim reality that the book did. Characters seemed fabricated and the storyline trite in comparison to the subtext of drug culture the film was supposed to explore. Although some things work on the printed page, they will not work verbatim on screen.

Boyle's other works include 'Shallow Grave', his much lauded debut that was an over-hyped, uninspiring, painted by numbers film. 'A Life Less Ordinary' and 'The Beach' round off Boyle's filmography, both of which even the director would admit are millstones around his neck (although I am sure he blames studio meddling to be the cause of their failures).

Touted as a true British auteur, I had hoped '28 Days Later...' would prove this statement to be true. The trailers had led me to believe that this was something special, but alas to no avail. The look of this film is in places truly magnificent. Sometimes feeling like a low budget movie, sometimes Hollywood extravaganza and sometimes like a home movie. The textures of the images on screen are a delight to watch, but more is needed if you are a true auteur . An auteur is a director who is completely and truly in charge of the material set out in front of them. Tarantino is an auteur, Kubrick was an auteur, Boyle still has much to learn.

A great first half descends into Hollywood cornball stuff, but the setting and premise for the film are great and for that alone, along with the great scenes of London completely devoid of crowds, (many people's wet dream, I'm sure) it is worth seeing.

Reviewer: Steven Davies @braindeadsteve
Location:Luton, UK
Review Date: 24 March 2004 My Rating: out of 5

Yes its true. Zombie movies are popular again. Not that I ever lost interest. Zombie movies are my preferred sub-genre of horror. Ever since I was young the Zombie movies were my favourites, and they have kept me entertained ever since. I think the great difference with the Zombie movie is the level of humour that seems to just work in them. No matter how serious the situation the humourous tone is often apparent. And very noticable in such titles as Evil Dead II, Return of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead '78 and not to mention the anticipated Shaun of the Dead rom-zom-com, released later this year.

But with that bit of background about my theatrical tastes we move on to the zombie-related movie in question. Danny Boyle's Brit horror, 28 Days Later. No, not a sequel to that lame Sandra Bullock movie but a post apocalyptic London overrun by infected human beings. You may have noticed that I refer to this as zombie-related. Well, this is because I really don't know whether it can be classed as a Zombie movie. There are a load of braindead people wandering the streets of London but no more than on a usual Saturday night at closing time.

The story then...Jim, our lead, wakes up from a coma to find the hospital and the rest of London deserted. An apparent blood-borne virus has been released from a research facility and swept across England. And now England has been quarantined. Aided by other uninfected persons Selena, Frank and his daughter Hannah, Jim and his new friends decide to travel up to Manchester to find refuge where the uninfected are gathering.

I'm a huge fan of Danny Boyle's work and this seems such a departure for him. But with his undeniable talent he has created a little gem of a movie here. Its a highly enjoyable romp from beginning to end. To look at, its great. And as with all Danny's previous works the soundtrack and original score is spot-on.

The astounding visuals used in this movie are incredible, especially for those familiar with the usual hustle and bustle of down town London. Placed at the beginning of the movie it serves a strong holding visual treat to grab the audience by the ears and slam their face to the screen. Kudos to the incredibly patient local councils and police for letting it happen.

There are the occasional nods to previous Romero work which is a nice thing I think, but this film is in no way a rip-off or even really a homage to any of the Living Dead franchise. Its a complete fresh approach to a Zombie movie, so much so that it almost is unrecognisable as one. It's a style that I'd like to probably see more of.

The scares are decent and the shocks are there too. 28 Days Later carries off a unique approach to the sub-genre and again solidifies the talent of director Danny Boyle. A sequel would be a shame, a prequel would be a disaster. And to see London in such a post apocalyptic manner was both astounding and commendable. Good job all round.

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