28 Days Later (2002)

DVD Cover (Fox Searchlight Special Edition)
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Overall Rating 72%
Overall Rating
Ranked #383
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Connections: 28 Days Later

When a group of animal rights activists release a chimpanzee infected with a virulent, genetically engineered plague from a research facility in Cambridge, the terrible virus escapes into the population. Devastating, and highly transmittable, it's only a matter of seconds before the uncontrollable pathogen locks those infected into a permanent state of murderous rage. As a result, within 28 short days, the terrible virus has overrun the entire country, and a handful of survivors entirely cut off from any information, begin their attempts to salvage a future, unbeknownst to them that the deadly virus is not the only thing that threatens them. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: March 6, 2007
28 Days Later is one of those movies that I'm highly torn on: I simply can't decide whether or not I like it. I first posted a review of it a few days after it was released to DVD, and in that review, I ended up giving it something along the lines of an eight or nine. Then, I gave it another viewing a few months later and had an entirely different opinion of it, leading to my giving it a new review with the much lower score of a measly five. Since you're reading this, it should go without saying that I watched it yet again and once again have a different opinion of it.

The storyline, for the three of you who haven't seen it yet, centers around a young man named Jim (Cillian Murphy) who awakens inside a hospital one day and steps outside to find... well, nothing. There are no people to be found, no cars being driven, no lights, not a single sign of life in the entire city. He walks around for a while, trying to find some sort of an answer to the obvious questions that are running through his mind, when he's suddenly attacked by a couple of crazed people who seem hellbent on killing him for no good reason. A couple of people in gas masks arrive just in time to save his ass, and after all is said and done, the lady of the group introduces herself to Jim as Selena (Naomie Harris). She explains that a virus broke out in the city that caused the infected to turn into mindless killing machines, and the vast majority of the city has either been killed or evacuated... and just before the electricity died, there were also reports on the radio that the infection had reached Paris and New York as well. The two eventually meet another pair of survivors - Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Megan Burns) - and the foursome set out to find some glimmer of hope in this desolate city. When they hear a report that "salvation can be found" at an old army headquarters, they decide to set out and investigate.

There are basically three "acts" to be found within the running time, and it's the third one that causes me to change my overall opinion of this film so often. The first act focuses on Jim and Selena while explaining to the audience what has happened, and this is done in a bleak, depressing sort of way that I thoroughly enjoyed. The second act introduces us to Frank and Hannah in a series of scenes which lightens the mood a bit, but never enough to ruin the results of the first act. Again, I enjoyed this chunk of the film. The third act finds the foursome meeting up with a group of soldiers who have holed up in an attempt to ride out this virus outbreak, and at this point, the film changes gears from "the heroes versus the infected" to "the heroes versus the soldiers, with a couple of infected people roaming about." This final half hour of the film is the one thing that causes me to change my mind every time I watch the movie.

You see, watching this half hour of film is enjoyable; it's competently shot and the story twists do have a degree of credibility and realism to them. The problem is that this chunk of the movie just seems out of place in the grand scheme of things, as if the writers had crafted this world of viruses and raging humans and simply didn't know where to go with it. The infected take a backseat to the conflict of interests between the humans, and while I understand where they were going with this (the age old question of "who is the real monster in this situation?"), I couldn't help but feel that more attention should have been paid to the infected humans who had overtaken the entire city. Then there's the ending; I won't spoil it, but it was so obviously designed to send the audience home happy with little or no regard to actually finishing the story in the fashion that it should have ended in. When you create a movie that is bleak and depressing for eighty minutes, you don't want to wrap things up with the stereotypical "and they all lived happily ever after" storybook ending.

Other than that, I did enjoy the film. This desolate wasteland of a city looked fantastic, and the characters who find themselves in it were well thought out and nicely developed. The zombies - excuse me, the "infected" - were also handled excellently, as it was nice to see a batch of zombies - excuse me, "infected humans" - who could run and come off as believable while doing so. The acting is great all around, the camera-work is top-notch, and just about everything was done right here... except for that final act of the film.

Overall though, I did enjoy the movie (as if having reviewed it three times now doesn't clue you in to that). I can't say that I have any brilliant ideas as to where they could have went with this story, but a radically different ending could have upgraded this from the "great movie" that I currently rank it as to the "horror classic" that it easily could have been. 8/10.
Clarence Bodicker #1: Clarence Bodicker - added July 30, 2004 at 2:33am
All the endings including the radical story board ending in my opinion sucked. Too bad they couldn't cap this movie correctly, it had alot of potential.
Kiddpepsi420 #2: Kiddpepsi420 - added August 7, 2004 at 4:06pm
I agree...the movie had so much potential..but i was also dissapointed with the ending and the Army guys...they just all dont work..
Schillinger #3: Schillinger - added August 22, 2004 at 2:52am
Overrated crap fest. Lame how they decided to change the plot from "people are diseased and zombie-like" to "soldiers are perverted and want sex" midway through the movie.
quitter #4: quitter - added July 24, 2005 at 9:07pm
I personally thought this movie was pretty good. I think a lot of it was simply demonstrating a theme of a sickness that exists in all humans (for example, the uninfected soldiers). But when they got to the army base, the movie definitely slowed down and wasn't as good until Jim lost his mind and stuck his thumbs into one soldier's eye sockets.
. #5: . - added September 13, 2005 at 8:26pm
The story was good but I found it a tad too boring for my tastes. I just couldn't wait for it to end.
Tristan #6: Tristan - added March 6, 2007 at 7:32am
I don't know how you people found it boring and overrated. This is one of the better "zombie" movies to come out in the last few years.
bluemeanie #7: bluemeanie - added March 6, 2007 at 9:41am
Before "The Descent", it was THE best horror film since "The Blair Witch Project" and one of the best zombie films ever made...actually, one of the best modern horror films ever. This movie is fast and vicious, visually stunning and scary as hell. Everything works. Director Danny Boyle truly has a keen eye for the horror genre and he injected a truckload of insanity into a typically flacid extension of the genre. Loved it. 10/10.
grain of sand #8: grain of sand - added March 6, 2007 at 9:31pm
this movie is a good on, despite the ending.. but if you didn't like it, watch the alternate chicken ending hah..

the soundtrack to this is amazing, everyone should check out Godspeed! You Black Emporor
Tristan #9: Tristan - added September 15, 2007 at 2:04pm
Everyone should just check out the soundtrack period. Even though G!YBE isn't on it. John Murphy does an amazing score. Some Brian Eno on there too. One of my top 10 favourite horror movies, and just movies in general. It looks amazing, brilliant score, and the acting/story are excellent
danimigra #10: danimigra - added March 15, 2008 at 6:06pm
Just a piece of art...! 10/10 is fine for me..!! and the second one is much better so.... what are you waiting to watch em..!!!
Optimus Prime #11: Optimus Prime - added October 9, 2009 at 4:10pm
Danny Boyle is always amazing. 10/10.
Crispy #12: Crispy - added June 6, 2014 at 1:54am
I loved this from beginning to end. Thank you Tristan for mentioning the music, as the score throughout was a huge part of why I enjoyed it so much.
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