FILM: 28 Days Later (2002, Danny Boyle)

Welcome to this, the twenty-eighth instalment in The Second Annual October Scare Fest!

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Zombie horror film 28 Days Later was distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures. When Jim (Cillian Murphy) awakens from a coma, he is left horrified and disoriented to discover that (during his 28 days unconscious) the zombie apocalypse has happened and the streets of London are deserted by almost all but the undead. After crossing paths with fellow survivors Selena (Naomie Harris), Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns), the four decide to stick together and drive to Manchester where there is a military base offering protection to survivors. However, their fellow humans may just be as great a threat to them as the zombie-hoards that they are trying to survive.

PROS

  • Director Danny Boyle crafts an excellent depiction of the zombie apocalypse, making very good choices (re. location and shooting-times) to ensure that harrowing imagery of a post-apocalypse London is captured, and also does a terrific job in ratcheting up the tension and the sense of threat that various foes pose to the central characters.
  • An excellent central cast, with all four throwing themselves into their roles with terrific intensity and some really raw emotion, whilst also having good chemistry with each other. Of the supporting cast, Christopher Eccleston’s authoritative performance as Major West is the most memorable.
  • Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle’s use of shaky-cam works very well to convey the sense of a disorienting and unsettling experience and being caught within chaos, whilst he also makes excellent use of shadows and low artificial lighting.
  • The make-up department do an excellent job in creating the zombies, and they also use vast amounts of fake blood to make some vividly striking imagery and also craft some very vivid injury details (in zombie bites especially).

CONS

  • The fact that the narrative goes down the route of the soldiers posing a great threat to the survivors was ultimately very predictable, even if the specificity of their threat had some serious shock value.
  • The narrative is at times rather rushed, which robs some moments of the full amount of emotional weight that they could have had, and as a whole it does end quite abruptly.

VERDICT: 8/10

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