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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