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28 Days Later /

Rated: R

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Megan Burns, Christopher Eccleston, Brendan Gleeson
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Produced by: Andrew MacDonald
Written by: Alex Garland
Distributor: Fox Searchlight


Movie Image

Movie Image

Movie Image

     28 Days Later opens up to sequences of ingenious dynamite that strike us with a pure, inventive impression. During the middle, it hits a few of the right notes, and ranges from being blatantly average, to capturing a serenely emotional, complex tale. At the end, however, effectiveness becomes incoherence. We are bombarded by a strange intensity, that’s not exactly scary, but rather annoying. We do leave the theatre pleased, though, due to a wonderful ending sequence. 28 Days Later is worth viewing at matinee price or renting on DVD when the time comes, but it’s really just a new concept, stuck in the conventional horror plot—aside from a few fresh twists, which are enlightened by the edgy, grainy-looking digital video.

     Despite my many attempts, I could never fully get into the gist of 28 Days Later. When watching it, I couldn’t help but notice the solidity of its ambition, and how well-done it was, compared to your average horror film. It just never stuck me as entertaining, though. I admired a lot of its fresh ways of bringing the old clichés of the horror genre into its context, without being too campy or cheesy. But this method, though ingenious, is actually one of the faults of the film. When handling this type of movie, there is such a thing as taking yourself too seriously. Without some corniness, horror wouldn’t be the same. 28 Days Later thinks it can pull of more than it really can. While I enjoyed some of the terror sequences, I couldn’t help but feel that they were a little overblown. If this one had found the right way to mix all of the elements that it contains, I would’ve applauded it for doing such. It has a hard time doing so, though; one of the things that kills, if not bogs down, a lot of it.

     The ill-mannered mixture is not a result of a story, though. I was fully engaged in the actual plot-line of 28 Days Later, my brain just didn’t like some of the minor events that occurred in response to the larger ones. The story is what will determine if the majority of audiences will like this film, or not. Here’s a brief description: animal rights activists release animals from their lab cages, infected with a “rage” virus that will provoke them to kill everyone they can. Once free, the animals’ virus spreads among the human population, killing many people, as well as turning much of them into zombies (when their blood hits humans, this happens). But, there are survivors. Jim (Cillian Murphy), who wakes up in a hospital bed, to walk outside and find London completely empty of humanity, is one of them. He is found by a group of survivors, who aid him, and save him from a brutal encounter with several zombies. 28 Days Later chronicles Jim and three others fight for survival, and journey to find another, protected, mass of survivors of the “rage” virus.

     Director Danny Boyle is a wondrous benefit to 28 Days Later, and has a very unique style in executing the motion picture. I love all of the shots of Jim walking through an empty London, put to music arising in pitch and volume, as tension builds. He sets a mystifying air for the film, and when we experience the mood for the first time, we are in awe. It’s so miraculous, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing before my very eyes, when viewing this flick. Regardless, 28 Days Later is still very flawed, unfortunately. With a few minor alterations, it could’ve been the perfect horror picture. The final product, however, is far from that.

     As far as slasher horror goes, 28 Days Later is first rate. But, as an individual film, it is flawed and forgettable, beyond belief. As far as the quality goes, this one is worthy of a matinee ticket or DVD rental, but definitely not more than that. I like certain parts of it, but it flops in and out of character for the entire duration. Zombies just don’t make a good movie, even when it’s as unique and fresh as this one. With hesitation, I recommend 28 Days Later to secluded audiences, but definitely not mainstream moviegoers. I, personally, would take a pass it if I had the choice, though. The topic and theories that Boyle gets onto are ingenious, the way they're presented is not.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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