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28 Days Later... (2002) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • 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.

  • A group of animal rights activists break into a lab and release monkeys from their cages to rescue them, despite warnings from a scientist that the monkeys are contagious. As a result of the animal rights activists' actions, a virus that the monkeys contained rapidly across Great Britain and infects numerous people. Jim, who fell into a coma following a bicycle accident shortly before the virus was released, emerges from his coma and finds that London is deserted. He realizes that he is not alone, as within the city there are those that have been infected and those that have not. Jim manages to find more survivors and they head out to Manchester, where a group of British military personnel offer protection of any survivors from the infected. However, Jim and his colleagues have no idea what they're in for.

    Sam
  • 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.

  • In a top secret British lab, peace activists release a monkey infected with a highly powerful and contagious test virus, despite the begging of the scientist in charge of operations. 28 days later, the infection has gone from one monkey to the majority of the UK, the host of the virus is lost in a murderous state, losing all logic and instinct. Jim, a courier, wakes up from his coma in an empty hospital, to find that the streets have been heavily littered and are empty. His fear began when he saw no one. His terror erupted when he realized he wasn't alone.

  • It has been twenty-eight days since Jim, a young bicycle courier, was knocked off his bike and injured in a car accident. When he wakes up from his coma, the world has changed. London is deserted, litter-strewn and grim, and it seems the entire world has disappeared. The truth, however, is even more horrifying - a devestating psychological virus has been unleashed on the world, turning the population into blood-crazed psychopaths driven only to kill and destroy the uninfected. A bitter struggle to get out of the city with fellow survivors to a military encampment at Manchester follows - but there, their troubles are just beginning...

    Scott
  • Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • Late one night, British animal rights activists break into a laboratory to free chimpanzees being used for medical research. Disregarding the warnings a lab staffer, the activists ultimately free the Rage virus subjects, which attack and infect the activists and scientist. The infection seems to spread very quickly through it's victims, turning them into uncontrollable monsters in a matter of seconds.

    Twenty-eight days later, a bicycle courier named Jim (Cillian Murphy) awakens from a coma in a deserted hospital. As he leaves the hospital, he discovers London is completely deserted and rife with signs of catastrophe. While he wanders the streets, calling out for anyone who might still be around, he finds a church where a large group of people have gathered. He quickly discovers that the people are raging monsters who attack him. He's chased through the streets by the infected people before being rescued by two survivors, Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley), who rush him to their hideout in the London Underground, using explosive charges attached to gasoline pumps to cover their escape. They reveal that while Jim was comatose, the virus spread uncontrollably among the populace, turning most people into vicious murderers ("the Infected") and resulting in societal collapse, possibly on a global scale.

    Jim insists on going to his parents' house. Though they think it's a bad plan, Selena and Mark accompany Jim. He discovers that his parents committed suicide. That night, several Infected attack the survivors, and when the fight ends Mark is bleeding. Selena immediately hacks him to death with a machete, explaining to Jim that infection is spread through contact with contaminated blood and overwhelms its victims in seconds, rendering them deadly to others. She warns that should he become infected, she will kill him "in a heartbeat." As the two journey through the derelict city the next day, Selena rules out intimacy between her and Jim, declaring that only the fight for survival remains. They see Christmas lights blinking in a high-rise tenement and go to check it out. About halfway up the stairs, Jim has to stop because he has a pounding headache. Selena explains that he's crashing from the sugar in the soda he'd been drinking for the past few days. They then hear the sounds of approaching infected and race up the remainder of the stairs where a man in police riot gear directs them to his apartment and fends off the infected. Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his teenage daughter Hannah (Megan Burns), have holed up in their flat. Invited to spend the night, Selena and Jim privately debate whether they should remain with Frank and Hannah. Jim says they seem like good people, while Selena fears they will slow them down, warning Jim that putting others ahead of one's own personal survival is a sure way to get killed.

    The next morning, Frank informs Jim and Selena that supplies, particularly water, are dwindling. There hasn't been any rain for several weeks despite all the collection receptacles they've placed on the tower's roof. Frank also shows them a prerecorded radio broadcast loop transmitted by soldiers near Manchester who claim to have "the answer to infection." Frank tells Selena and Jim that he and Hannah need their help to get out of the city.

    The survivors board Frank's cab in search of the blockade and during the trip bond with one another. On their way out, they pass through a tunnel blocked by a pile-up of cars and one of the cab's tires goes flat. When they realize that a horde of infected are on their way, they frantically change the tire and race out. On the other side, they find an abandoned store and stock up on provisions. The group overnights in a pastoral area. Before they go to sleep, Jim sees that Selena is carrying a small stash of pills. She mostly uses them for sleep and to control the anxiety she feels but tells Jim she won't give them up.

    Selena's steely resolve begins to soften, while Jim's experiences on the trip begin to toughen him up. When the four reach the deserted blockade, Frank is infected by blood from a dripping corpse. Knowing that he's doomed, he harshly tells Hannah to stay away from him and becomes infected in seconds, nearly killing her. He is quickly shot by hiding soldiers, who then commandeer the cab and take Selena, Jim and Hannah to a fortified mansion under the command of Major Henry West (Christopher Eccleston).

    As Hannah goes into shock, Selena and Jim reach out to each other romantically. Jim discovers that West's "answer to infection" involves waiting for the Infected to starve to death, while giving hope for future community survival by forcing sexual servitude on the female survivors. Shocked, Jim attempts to escape with Selena and Hannah, but is captured by the soldiers, along with Sergeant Farrell (Stuart McQuarrie), who disagrees with the Major's plan. While Jim and Farrell are imprisoned for the night, Farrell theorises that there is no worldwide epidemic. The infection takes hold of its victims so rapidly that it would have been impossible for any infected to escape the British Isles, leading the rest of Europe and perhaps the world to subject Britain to a strict quarantine.

    The next day, as two soldiers lead the prisoners into the woods to be executed, Selena and Hannah are trapped as the soldiers circle, wanting to begin the rapes. Selena asks to be left alone briefly with Hannah to prepare her. Selena tells Hannah she'll give her one of her sedatives so the experience will be less traumatic.

    While the two executioners fight about how to kill Farrell, Jim runs off. They run after him, however Jim has hidden himself among the pile of corpses they were going to throw him and Farrell upon. He observes the contrails of a jet aircraft flying high overhead and realizes that someone in the outside world is still functioning. After luring West and one of his men to the blockade, Jim runs back to the soldiers' headquarters where he unleashes Mailer, an infected soldier that West kept chained outside for observation. Mailer attacks the soldiers in the mansion, while Jim stealthily skulks around, killing a soldier and maneuvering around the growing number of Infected. Selena, held hostage by the last uninfected soldier, is horrified when Jim, covered in blood, bursts into the room and savagely kills the soldier, leading her to believe that he may be infected. Raising her machete, she hesitates before striking; he quips, "That was longer than a heartbeat," and the two kiss passionately. Hannah finds them and the trio run to Frank's cab, only to encounter West, who shoots Jim in the stomach. Hannah commandeers the cab and throws West to the infected Mailer, then escapes with Jim and Selena.

    Selena and Hannah rush Jim into a deserted hospital, where Selena performs life-saving emergency procedures. A further twenty-eight days pass and a bandaged Jim is shown waking up in recovery again, this time on one side of a double bed in a remote cottage. Downstairs, he finds Selena sewing large swaths of fabric when Hannah appears. The three rush outside and unfurl a huge cloth banner, adding the final letter to the word "HELLO" laid out on the meadow. As the approaching jet flies over the landscape, the Infected lie in the streets dying of starvation. After the jet zooms past the three waving survivors and their distress sign, Selena wonders aloud, "Do you think he saw us this time?"

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