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View Full Version : 28 Days Later (2002)


Lyle Horowitz
01-20-2004, 06:48 PM
http://classic-horror.com/reviews/images/28dayslater.jpg

***1/2 (of *****)

Following Cabin Fever, I watched another virus movie last night for the first time. Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, and I have mixed feelings on the film. If I were to describe 28 Days Later, I would say that it is a mix between The Omega Man (or Last Man on Earth for that matter, take your pick) and Day of the Dead. However, unlike many newer horror films which are influenced by films of the past, 28 Days Later is not a rip-off.

Without giving too much away, doctors are experimenting with apes using a "rage" serum. The experiment goes "terribly wrong" and the rage virus is unleashed on Britain. 28 DAYS LATER. The film switches to the protagonist, Jim (played by Cillian Murphy) in a hospital bed. Jim leaves his hospital bed to find the hospital empty. He leaves the hospital and realizes everyone in London is gone. He reads a newspaper headline saying that all of England was evacuated due to the virus. He discovers what is left of the people in London, they have become zombie-like creatures. I say "zombie-like" because they are not zombies. They are infected with the rage virus, and apparently can walk faster and are stronger. Jim meets up with Selena and Mark, as they try to survive against these creatures. Lots more unfolds between that point and the end of the film, but I wouldn't want to ruin it for you.

28 Days Later is an interesting, if not uneven film. When the film first started off, I was bored to tears for the first half hour. It was not until Jim and Selena meet Frank and Hannah that the film picked up. The film is very grey, which adds to the empty and desolate feeling of the film. I also liked the way it was shot, even though it seriously took some getting used to. I think this was actually shot on DV, if I am not mistaken. I enjoyed the preformances, especially from Cillian Murphy as Jim and Naomie Harris as Selena. I felt that the film got dull again once Jim, Selena, and Hannah arrived at the military base. I saw the ending coming from a mile away, and I hated it. I felt that it needed a more downbeat ending. The score was excellent, and I thought it went with the film perfectly. Despite it's shortcomings, I thought 28 Days Later was top-notch, and the best zombie film since Re-Animator in 1985. I hope Danny Boyle continues to make interesting genre pictures, because 28 Days Later is a very good horror film with excellent character development. I hope more filmmakers learn that "less is more" in terms of gore. It seems that lately, filmmakers are sacrificing good characters and a good story for gore and sex.

dwatts
01-21-2004, 01:29 AM
I'll weigh in with a 2 out of 5. Nothing new here, and I hated the editing job (set to a music video, it might have worked). Way overated.

Disco Stu
01-21-2004, 01:45 AM
I'm confused Lyle. You give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars, call it the best zombie movie in the last 18 years, but you only liked the middle section of the movie.

Originally posted by Lyle Horowitz
I was bored to tears for the first half hour....

I felt that the film got dull again once Jim, Selena, and Hannah arrived at the military base. I saw the ending coming from a mile away, and I hated it. That's about 70-75 minutes of the 113 minute film, and that doesn't even include the credits, which would make it about 108 (someone with the R1 disc can correct me if my estimation is off). How can something be the greatest of its genre in nearly 20 years, but only be entertaining for about 40 minutes.

Note that if you have the DVD in your posession, there are a few alternate conclusions. The ending that Boyle and Garland narrate over storyboards is terrific, and another one that ends at a hospital, is also downbeat and more appropriate and in tune with the rest of the movie. Most of 28 Days Later was shot on DV, but some parts were shot on film. A better use of DV are Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids 2 and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, especially in terms of color palette and fluid camera movement.

hell ya!
01-21-2004, 02:36 AM
I loved 28 Days Later, sure it wasn't all that orginal but it was damn fun.

marioscido
01-21-2004, 05:02 AM
I'll weigh in with a 2 out of 5. Nothing new here, and I hated the editing job (set to a music video, it might have worked). Way overated.

I agree completely. It's all down hill after the first 20 minutes. Not to mention the fact that Boyle gets insulted when people call his idiotic film "horror." Fuck him!

Katatonia
01-21-2004, 09:30 AM
I agree completely. It's all down hill after the first 20 minutes. Not to mention the fact that Boyle gets insulted when people call his idiotic film "horror." Fuck him!

I thought 28 Days Later was quite overrated from all the hype I'd heard before actually viewing it. There was really nothing new to the movie. I agree that it started out okay, but the rest of the movie wasn't all that great. It was entertaining on average, but I honestly have no desire to see it again. I've seen worse, but gimme a Romero flick instead.

Lyle Horowitz
01-21-2004, 12:24 PM
I'm confused Lyle. You give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars, call it the best zombie movie in the last 18 years, but you only liked the middle section of the movie.That's about 70-75 minutes of the 113 minute film, and that doesn't even include the credits, which would make it about 108 (someone with the R1 disc can correct me if my estimation is off). How can something be the greatest of its genre in nearly 20 years, but only be entertaining for about 40 minutes.
I was off on time. How long was it until Selena killed Mark? How long was it until they arrived at the military base after the soliders shot Frank? Before the former and after the latter are the parts I didn't like. Saying that it is the best zombie movie in 18 years is fine because what great zombie movies have come out SINCE Re-Animator? I rest my case. :p

Note that if you have the DVD in your posession, there are a few alternate conclusions. The ending that Boyle and Garland narrate over storyboards is terrific, and another one that ends at a hospital, is also downbeat and more appropriate and in tune with the rest of the movie. Most of 28 Days Later was shot on DV, but some parts were shot on film. A better use of DV are Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids 2 and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, especially in terms of color palette and fluid camera movement.
I rented 28 Days Later, so no, I no longer have the disc my my posession. I did watch 2 of the 3 alternate endings, and I liked the hospital ending more than the original ending they used. I did not watch the storyboarded ending however, what happened in that? I watched Once Upon a Time in Mexico last night and I agree, better use of DV.

marioscido
01-21-2004, 05:06 PM
Saying that it is the best zombie movie in 18 years is fine because what great zombie movies have come out SINCE Re-Animator? I rest my case. :p

Well... the nineties was a wilderness period for horror more genrally. But we still got the "Night of the Living Dead" remake (1990), "Dead Alive" (1992), "Dellamorte Dellamore" (1994), and more recently, "Undead" (2003), which are much more interesting than "28 Days Later."

Lyle Horowitz
01-21-2004, 05:20 PM
Well... the nineties was a wilderness period for horror more genrally. But we still got the "Night of the Living Dead" remake (1990), "Dead Alive" (1992), "Dellamorte Dellamore" (1994), and more recently, "Undead" (2003), which are much more interesting than "28 Days Later."
Fair enough, but I don't care for any of those films, except for Dellamorte Dellmore, which I like. I thought the Night of the Living Dead remake was horrible and over-praised.

EDIT: I've actually never seen Undead, so I don't know how that stacks up to 28 Days Later.

Atmims
01-21-2004, 10:10 PM
I agree with Dwatts. It did have a few alright scenes but really nothing special at all IMO.

MaxRenn
01-22-2004, 01:18 AM
"28 Days Later" is a solid movie but no classic. It's a mark of the lack of good quality recent horror movies that "28 Days Later" has been proclaimed as an "instant classic". Plus its release coincided with the SARS panic which caused people to give the movie far more symbolic credit than it deserved.

Having lived a long time in London, I really enjoyed the first 20 -30 minutes but the rest of the film was weaker. I still enjoyed it but I think that it relied on its influences too much, the editing became annoying after a while and both endings were unsatisfactory.

As for comparisons, it's nowhere as good as "Dead Alive" or "Dellamorte Dellamore".

marioscido
01-22-2004, 06:46 AM
Yeah... I was a little rude in my earlier post. I'm not a big fan of Mr. Boyle. I agree with you completely, MR, about the first 20-30 minutes. I think the film had lots of potential that was quickly wasted. And it is SO overrated! I have to admit that it annoys me to no end when certain films are categorized as 'serious' in a genre that is perceived as trivial. When I hear someone saying to me, like many do with the films M. Night Shyamalan, "well, it's not really a horror film, it more of a thriller, or suspense," that's when the fangs come out! This is what has happened with "28 Days Later." Like most of the horror films that are 'acclaimed' by mainstream critics (or given Oscars and nominations for that matter) "28 Days" is watered down material, without the political restlessness of a Romero film, or a Soavi, or a Jackson. In fact, it is usually the more conventional horror films which are 'acclaimed' by critics. And "28 Days" is a conventional narrative to me, a narrative which does not challenge accepted notions about the fear of contamination and disease. In fact, it reinforces them. "Cabin Fever" is much more subversive with respect to these issue (in its own silly way), and it's smart enough to know that the theme of contamination/purity has been a dominant theme within the horror genre since its inception ("Nosferatu" anyone?). More importantly, "Cabin Fever" celebrates this respect for horror through humour and homage. "28 Days" sees itself as a superior spin-off of the genre.

Roger Ebert has finally decided (30 years after the fact) that 'Les yeux sans visage' is a film worth praising; it was recently re-released in NYC and other major cities in the US. In his review, he writes this: "One of the tasks faced by serious filmgoers is to distinguish good films in disreputable genres." I want to say to him: "One of the tasks faced by engaged filmgoers is to unbind serious film criticism from mainstream values." Often, folks like Ebert tend to conflate these things much too easily. But then again, he did have enough sense to like "May"?

dwatts
01-22-2004, 12:38 PM
I am still surprised that the genre is so looked down upon by most critics. Since the advent of film, horror films and the macabre have been a staple. There are lots of horrid things that happen in the world, are horror films really so terrible? Horror plays to an emotion (fear, among others) much like romantic movies, or even the over-burdened war epic with all their flag waving.

When mainstream media tells us to get excited about a film (also known as hype) we have reason to be suspicious. Without a doubt, this usually means something has been compromised.

Lyle Horowitz
01-22-2004, 02:38 PM
Mario, if it means anything, I thought that Cabin Fever was much more entertaining than 28 Days Later. It was better as a whole, IMO, and I plan on buying the DVD soon. It's brilliant how five 22-year olds deal with a virus in such an immature manner. 28 Days Later is a more mature group of people dealing with a virus which has already wiped out a good amount of the population of England.

Wez4555
01-22-2004, 05:32 PM
i watched it for the first time a few weeks ago with my friends. they seemed to like it but i didnt much. it had its momments but i thought it was kinda lame. my friend showed his mom and she liked it. i felt like an outcast, but im glad im not the only one.

Dr_Acula
01-24-2004, 04:50 AM
Wow....I can't believe it. Just about everyone here has expressed my opinions on this film, which I thought was a major disappointment.

SEANVALEN
01-24-2004, 05:55 AM
I think 28 days should of tried to be more entertaining then be interesting, they should of stayed in London and make it a a blood bath, because that London setting was so cool. When they went away from London to that army which was used to make social commentry, humans as worse as zombies etc, it stopped being entertainment, and more dramatic, it's two films, it should of been about just zombies.

Horrorfan
01-25-2004, 03:29 AM
I really love this film first film to scare me in years

Grim
01-25-2004, 04:02 PM
I liked it. It was a little slow in the beginning, but once he got to the church it was uphill for me.