28 Days Later is a must-see for fans of zombie flicks. Genre films like this are rare and prove there’s life in basic stories that pull us together as people. Drenched in gore, but with a beating heart in its core, this tale is about people in all their incarnations. The classic archetypes are present, lending warmth and characterization to a common theme of survival and human nature. The story isn’t an original one, but it is a strong story built upon powerful acting, directing, effects, and cinematography.
Animal rights activists with the purest of intentions invade a research lab where chimps are apparently being experimented on. The horror they see is unnerving and uncomfortable. Almost in A Clockwork Orange manner, one chimp is surrounded by negative media images, bombarding her senses with violence and distress. The activists begin to free the mammals only to be interrupted by one of the lab workers. He begs them to not release the creatures because they’re infected with “rage”. One well-meaning attempt of justice decimated the world in 28 days.
The zombies in director, Danny Boyle’s world have interesting qualities. The “zombies” are infected humans suffering from the Rage virus; they are not dead. They can be killed with gunshots and trauma to the body, just like any other living person. These zombies haul ass, which is just creepy as hell. In my perfect zombie setting, I can lazily walk around with a sword and not break a sweat. They can infect you with blood or saliva, so this is a perfect remainder how essential cardio is to living.
The protagonists in 28 Days Later absolutely make the film. The cast was amazing and brought depth to a starving genre. Much like The Walking Dead, a large part of it works because you want to cheer for the characters. Watching three acts is a tense experience. I clinched my teeth the entire film, worrying I would lose half the cast. Silence is a wonderful contrast to the extreme violence and makes the tension much more palpable. The long runs of silence or simple nature sounds knocked the creep factor up a notch. You just know something terrible is going to break the silence.
28 Days Later is a horror fan’s horror movie. Everything I need in a human story are strongly represented with a layer of blood and gore. I think most serious fans have seen this, if you haven’t, here’s your chance.