Rating: (2.5) Stars
In 28 Days Later, a secret virus is accidentally released from a government lab, causing infected people to immediately turn into zombies. The movies main character is Jim (Cillian Murphy), a bicycle courier who is hit by a car and wakes up from a coma 28 days after the outbreak of the virus. He finds London deserted, and for about ten minutes, the audience is supposed to ooh and aah at all the computer-manipulated images of him wandering the deserted streets. Its not long before the fun starts, and hyperactive zombies begin chasing Jim. He is saved by Selena (Naomi Harris), and after a couple of minor zombie incidents from which the two predictably emerge unscathed, they team up with some guy named Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Megan Burns). From there, the group continues the search for other survivors by heading towards the source of a military radio beacon. After another couple of minor zombie incidents from which the group predictably emerges unscathed (except for Frank), they arrive at an estate that has been taken over by about ten British army guys. It seems like 28 days of zombie fighting, no T.V., no sex, and bad English cooking have taken their toll, as the army guys decide to make sex slaves of the women and to get rid of Jim. This is followed by the predictable, big, final battle between the survivors and the zombies and a predictably more-or-less happy ending.
28 Days Later is mediocre, and is easily surpassed by Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead. The most annoying thing about it is its reliance on cheap filmmaking techniques to scare the audience. Every time the humans get attacked by the zombies, its always in the middle of the night, or in some darkened room, and the zombies always jump out of nowhere and flail around, with the camera shaking crazily and all the shots mixing together into confused, splitsecond images of blood, teeth, grimacing faces, and gore. The purest incarnation of this sort of crap would be a two-hour movie that featured nothing but a blank screen punctuated by very brief outbursts of disturbing images and loud noises at random intervals.
Cillian Murphy and Naomi Harris play their roles convincingly, and this bit of acting was probably the best aspect of the film. Director Danny Boyle also did this entire movie on digital film, giving it a visually grainy quality that is sometimes highly noticeable. Frankly, I dont think this effect imparted any sort of benefit, but it didnt detract either.
Humor is just about nonexistent in this film, and the comedic highpoint apparently occurs when we see a British army grunt dressed in a frilled apron while cooking some dinner. Sure, maybe its funny once, but we keep seeing this guy over and over again, and nobody seems to tire of making cracks at him. It gets kind of old.
28 Days Later is just another zombie movie that ranks strictly average in the genre. The plot is unremarkable, and no major improvements have been made over previous zombie movies. Save your money and go rent Alien if you want a good scare.