28 Days Later...
- Danny Boyle
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Tuesday, July 29, 2003
It’s London. A group of animal activists break into a laboratory where chimps are infected with a virus called “Rage” and let them loose. In a matter of 28 days the virus has almost killed the entire planet population. That’s when we meet Jim (Cillian Murphy), a common guy who suddenly wakes up in a hospital after being in a coma and realizes that London is empty… or at least that’s what it seems. Suddenly Jim stumbles into living infected humans who have the need to kill, although he also encounters Selena (Naomi Harris), Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Megan Burns), with whom he embarks on a road trip to get to a military facility run by Major Henry West (Christopher Eccleston).
At simple sight 28 Days Later… is a horror movie. Well, as a matter of fact it is a horror movie, but director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland crafted their movie so that it could be a lot more. The aftertaste you get is that you’ve just witnessed a superb psychological thriller. There are some aspects that elevate the movie from being just another one in the bunch. And that’s what makes it special.
First and foremost we get to care about the four main characters in the movie. Despite the genre, the characters in the movie are well developed and fully fleshed-out. There are scary moments but also more quiet, character-driven ones, which helps us identify with what these people are going through. And when those zombie-like humans appear it can get reeeeeally scary. Like a scene in a tunnel where they are forced to change a tire as fast as they can. Nerve-wracking!
The movie takes a shocking turn once the military base finally appears. I won’t delve into details because that’s part of the fun, but I’ll just say that the movie actually makes you think. How far can humans go when put in extreme situations? Are they more dangerous than those infected creatures that act like animals? Aren’t we supposed to be the rational ones?
Director Danny Boyle fills his movie with references to George Romero’s and to The Omega Man. A good homage in a good movie is always welcomed.
Acting-wise the movie is first-rate. These are all character actors. Actors who are not that well known to mainstream audiences. Brendan Gleeson is the highest-profile face in the cast and he does a magnificent job with his role. The whole cast is excellent though.
A movie that will get under your skin…
“That was longer than a heartbeat.”
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