REVIEWED
6/13/04

STORY



LOOK




28 Days Later
Director: Danny Boyle
Year: 2002
TRT: 1:53


While technically not a "zombie" flick, all the major elements are here for a pretty terrifying look at how a population can become quickly decimated by freakish cannibalistic predators. There's two main parts to the movie that focus on the human element, and how it either strives for good or less than stellar goals. Director Danny Boyle throws us headfirst into the situation along with its main character, not knowing really quite what the fuck is going on, and does it perfectly.

After an opening sequence of a laboratory containing several monkeys that are apparently infected with a nasty virus called RAGE, we're dropped into the situation 28 days later along with our protagonist Jim, who finds himself waking up in a hospital room from what seemed to be a pretty serious accident. Nobody's around, not in the hospital, not on the streets of London, Nothing. Fucking creepy as hell in itself. With a little exploration, he finds out what's going on, but even the rage-afflicted ghouls that now haunt the city aren't the only threats to be dealt with.

I'd almost like to have seen this without the opening sequence and the little exposition it provides. Even after multiple viewings, this is a pretty tense and intense flick that grabs you by the shorthairs and doesn't let up until the end. It was shot on the cheap, using digital technology instead of film, and while it was a bit apparent on the big screen, doesn't detract in the home theater. Plus it gave them some leeway in experimenting in how the film looks a bit more, to their advantage as mood and atmosphere are dead-on throughout. The characters are well drawn (though Selina is a bit over), and minus a scene in a diner, everything really fits together here nicely to provide not only a good horror flick, but a pretty gripping drama as well.

Great Scenes: The worst place to get a flat, and a hunt in the rain that just looks great.

DVD Notes: Nicely done "Special Edition" by 20th Century Fox that holds a shitload of decent extras. Optional commentary by Boyle and writer Alex Garland on the following: the film itself, several decent deleted scenes, 2 alternate endings that make the film even more grim, plus a "radical alternative ending" done up in storyboard that, while interesting, does contain a vital flaw and is indeed a good decision that it was completely nixed. Also included is a 24 minute making-of that is alright, the first half mostly dedicated to talk about the viability of a viral pandemic, then moving into looks at the movie itself. Also included is a pretty cool collection of stills with commentary by Boyle (again, usually nicely informative on several aspects of production), plus a couple other tidbits that are all well and good. So yeah, nicely done and nicely played.