Six months after the rage virus was inflicted on the population of Great Britain, the US Army helps to secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again. But not everything goes to plan.
A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.
A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.
Animal activists invade a laboratory with the intention of releasing chimpanzees that are undergoing experimentation, infected by a virus -a virus that causes rage. The naive activists ignore the pleas of a scientist to keep the cages locked, with disastrous results. Twenty-eight days later, our protagonist, Jim, wakes up from a coma, alone, in an abandoned hospital. He begins to seek out anyone else to find London is deserted, apparently without a living soul. After finding a church, which had become inhabited by zombie like humans intent on his demise, he runs for his life. Selena and Mark rescue him from the horde and bring him up to date on the mass carnage and horror as all of London tore itself apart. This is a tale of survival and ultimately, heroics, with nice subtext about mankind's savage nature. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The decision to film on DV (using Canon XL1 cameras) was both an aesthetic and a logistic choice. Aesthetically, Danny Boyle felt that the harshness of the DV imagery suited the post-apocalyptic urban landscape and the grittiness of the film in general. In the production notes, Boyle says "the general idea was to try and shoot as though we were survivors too." Logistically, producer Andrew Macdonald claims that shooting with standard cameras, especially some exterior scenes, would've been impossible. As MacDonald points out in the production notes, "The police and the local authorities were quite happy to assist us because we could set up scenes so quickly. We could literally be ready to shoot with a six-camera set-up within minutes - something we would not realistically have been able to do if shooting under the restrictions of 35mm which takes a good deal more time to set up a single shot." See more »
When Jim and the 3 others go into the Budgens grocery store to pick up supplies before they leave London, after 28 days, the smell of the inside of the grocery store would have been so repulsive, if not on the verge of a bio-hazard in itself, due to all the rotting, fermenting and decomposing milk, dairy, fish, poultry and meats, that as soon as they walked into the store would have, at the very least, make their faces wince at the stench and at the very most would have made them turn around and leave the store immediately due to the intolerable and unventilated pungent odor. See more »
[the three animal activists arrive to the laboratory]
[when seeing all of the caged apes]
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Other than the Fox Searchlight logo, there are no opening credits whatsoever. The title of the movie, 28 Days Later, only appears as a descriptive subtitle. See more »
In England a group of animal rights activists break into a research facility to free monkeys. However the monkeys are infected with a new developed virus called rage which is contagious by blood or bodily fluid - at the same time Jim lies in a coma. 28 days later Jim awakens from his state to find London deserted and populated only by a group of those infected by rage. Jim is rescued by Selena and her friend who tell him what has happened and start a search for other survivors and a quest to find the cure, promised by a military unit stationed in the north.
I excitedly arrived at the preview for this looking forward to a tense British horror movie to make me jump with fear. I got pretty much what I wanted. The plot is simple and omits much detail but not to it's disservice. Details as to what the virus is or what it was created in the first place (by putting monkeys in front of TV's Clockwork Orange style?) but the detail is not important seconds into the film when we wake up with Jim. At this point his fear becomes ours and what is important to him is not the detail but the bigger picture of the infected and the chances of survival.
The plot is told in two parts. First the big picture in London and then the smaller battle north of Manchester. Both are well told but for different reasons. The bridging section of the journey north is good as it helps us know the characters better. Of course is it scary? Well, not scary but thrilling all the way. To me scary is things like Ringu - creepy stuff, but most will be freaked by 28 days later. The infected are not zombies in definition or in action - they move silently and fast and with pure blood lust. I was always more scared by zombie flicks than anything else becomes they keep coming - here they do the same but fast!
The direction is good for the most part. The opening scene in London just shows how badly Crowe did his bit in Vanilla Sky. Here it is clever and chilling to see much of London totally empty. The direction is better when it is fast cutting and handheld style. We see things like the characters would see them out of the corner of their eyes, a flicker, a shadow etc and it works to great effect. The only downside is that, at one or two points, the attacks were signalled by a preceding talking 5 minutes, but this is minor. The final rain soaked action is excellent - fast, gripping and paced. This film doesn't rely on gore or special effects (although it is there) instead it has genuine tension and fear.
The film is very British. It is very low-key and realistic. The survivors are not Mad Max style heroes but people clinging to life by a thread or setting up survivalist measures that simply don't work. The ending is not as good as I had hoped but it wasn't bad and it fitted with the tone of reality that Jim had realised when lying on his back in the woods towards the end. It's not without flaws but the film is a very good British horror film - Americans will wonder `where are all the teenager girls to scream' or `why don't they all have guns' or `why is there no real dah-dah music to tell us when something is going to happen' but that is because this is a British film and not Hollywood.
Most reviews have praised the `unknown' cast. Well I agree the cast did very well - but unknown? Murphy certainly is not unknown (and won't be from now on) and he does Jim very well, from when the truth is first real to him, to his decision that he must learn to kill through to his transformation near the end. Harris is excellent again, I say again as she did well in miniseries `white teeth'. Her accent is British and she plays a younger role but she is a good actress. Brendan Gleeson is good in a fatherly role but Eccleston seems clipped and at odds with his military role. In fact all the military guys were laddish caricatures and only just did the job - but I never believed in their characters as I did with the others.
Overall I was glad to see this early. I really enjoyed it, the pace at times may have been uneven but to me that added to the tension - an attack could come at any time. The eventual small scale focus helped the tension and pace of the story. Thrilling, scary, tense and well written - even more surprising is that it's home grown!
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