Wednesday, October 03, 2007

28 Days Later

(2002) ****

“Repent: the end is extremely fucking nigh.”

Many of you have seen this one, but here goes. In current day London, scientists have been experimenting on monkeys, infecting them with the “rage” virus. Animal rights activists break into the lab intending to free the animals but instead unleash the virus on London. The virus is fast acting and spreads easily via bodily fluids, and the infected are more than happy to shamble rapidly up to the nearest uninfected human and ravage, creating more infected.

Our protagonist, Jim (the wonderful Cillian Murphy), misses the initial sweep of rage, having been confined to the hospital following a head injury and coma. Jim walks the deserted London streets and begins to understand what has happened, but he doesn’t really get it until he is saved from the infected by Mark and Serena, uninfected humans trying to survive, who tell him the deal: the infected have taken over, uninfected humans are all but wiped out, everyone he knew or loved is dead.

During a visit to Jim’s parents’ home, Mark becomes infected and Serena dispatches him, as she must to survive. Jim and Serena then discover Frank and his daughter Hannah living in a tower block. The four decide to follow a transmission purporting to be from an army post despite Serena’s suspicions; what choice do they really have? They travel to the army post where, of course, things aren’t quite what they seem. There are bad, uninfected humans as well as the vicious infected to contend with.

28 Days Later fit well with my Horrorthon goal of watching quality movies that happen to be in the horror genre. Throughout the movie, adrenalin-pumping, bloody attacks by the infected are interspersed with normal, warm, human moments. The soundtrack is excellent and works extremely well with the action. The characters develop (rare for a horror film) and there are some likeable, realistic characters. My only gripe is with the final act at the army compound, in which the motive for the soldiers’ behavior doesn’t quite ring true. That being said, though I’m not a fan of the zombie sub-genre (yes, I know the infected are not actually zombies), 28 Days Later is up there among my very favorite horror films.


Octopunk said...

Awright! Another new player cowboys up!

Pretty spot-on review of a great movie. Sticking to quality is not a bad idea...for this year.

Danny Boyle said that this was a drama with a horror setting, which is why you get the rather unique character development. Good stuff.

Anas Demens Purpurea said...

And imagine London being empty! Besides the beautiful quietness, there would be so many other advantages!...*dreams of unlimited cadburies*

JPX said...

Nice review, AC! I'm curious about your take on 28 Weeks Later, are you planning on checking it out?

AC said...

JPX, I may hit 28 Weeks Later this Horrorthon, but not in the near future. I have some goodies in the lineup I want to get to first. And Octo, just relax the restriction on MST3K movies, and next year I'll watch the worst of the worst. Even (gulp) Eegah. ADP, I love your ability to emphasize the positives of most of humanity being wiped out!

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Quality? What the hell is that?

Actually if you are trying to stick with quality then you should avoid 28 Weeks Later like the plague.

Glad to have you aboard AC!

JPX said...

Shhhh, don't tell her 28 weeks later stinks!

AC said...

thanks jsp! nice try jpx.