28 Days Later

Rated: R
Stars:   Cilliam Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Christopher Eccleston, Luke Mably
Director:  Danny Boyle
Screenwriter:   Alex Garland

This is an apocalyptic horror film where a virus, accidentally unleashed in Great Britain, causes people to die horrible deaths and the rest who are infected are turned into raging zombies. 28 Days Later, the latest film from Danny Boyle who directed Trainspotting and The Beach, was shot on digital video and because of the director’s attempt to achieve any overly gritty look, by way of low, filtered light, I thought it looked terrible with much picture detail lost throughout the film. Despite the tour de force filmmaking required to show deserted modern-day London streets and landmarks, I found the film largely a disappointment.

Synopsis: It’s the beginning of the end when animal rights activists try to do good by freeing a group of chimpanzees from a lab where they’ve suffered hideous experimentations and carry a highly infectious rage virus. Those not infected struggle to survive by hiding and/or killing anything that spews blood and vomit in their direction.

Jim (Cillian Murphy), a coma victim, awakens in his hospital bed only to discover most of London void of life. He wanders around the deserted city ludicrously screaming “hello” in every direction … you’d think he’d seen enough horror movies in his life to know that you shouldn’t do that. Then he makes the mistake of entering a church where, because of the blurry images, I could hardly discern that he was looking at dead bodies … lots of dead bodies. When a priest responds to one of Jim’s lofty “hellos” it’s with bloodstained, gnashing teeth and Jim has to be saved by two roving unaffecteds named Mark (Noah Huntley) and Selena (Naomie Harris). Escaping to other parts of the city, they are soon joined by the father and daughter team of Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns) who suggest seeking salvation at a military post near Manchester. You can be sure nothing is as it seems and more horrors await them along the way.

Lotta says: Brendan Gleeson was a refreshing additional to the cast and I was impressed with Naomie Harris as Selena. But, this film was neither scary nor particularly well formulated as a warning message. And as previously stated, the picture quality is particularly dismal. It’s rated R – for strong violence and gore, language and nudity (Jim’s inoffensive hospital awakening).

Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Production Company: DNA Films, Figment Films

Reviewed: 7/3/03