28 Days Later


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The title refers to how long it will take until your heart stops beating a mile a minute.


28 Days Later

The Masked Reviewer

Is it a sequel to the 2000 Sandra Bullock alcohol rehab movie 28 Days?  No (thankfully)!  It's a horror film by Danny Boyle, the director of Trainspotting (yay!) and The Beach (yikes!) so the Masked Reviewer wasn't sure whether this would be a great horror movie or a greatly horrible movie. 

Let's begin.  Are you an aficionado of horror films?  Specifically, do you like zombie movies?  Did House of 1000 Corpses fill you with glee?  Have you seen all of the Living Dead films by Romero?   How about the remake of Night of the Living Dead by special effects legend Tom Savini?  When you think of Peter Jackson, do you think of Dead Alive and Bad Taste, or Lord of the RingsDo you sleep with a shotgun under your pillow just in case the zombies come to feast on your brains?    If you answered yes to all the above, then go see 28 Days Later.  Stop reading and go.  Now.  Hurry.

It's time for the pull quotes.  The title refers to how long it will take until your heart stops beating a mile a minute.  It's stylish and scary.  You'll swallow your tongue and be glad you did.  Living Dead fans should claw out of their coffins for 28 Days Later.

This is a classic zombie horror film, in the vein of Night of the Living Dead.  In fact, it's more than just in the vein of Night of the Living Dead, it very much is Night of the Living Dead.  It deals with many of the same horrors...being alone, surrounded by an unending horde of evil creatures, not knowing who you can trust, not know where to go or how to stop them.   In many ways it serves as an homage to the work of George Romero, but it is stylish and exciting in its own right.  It's hard to classify it as particularly original, and in many ways it feels like another chapter of Living Dead, although they aren't technically zombies...but they are. 

28 Days Later is genuinely suspenseful.  There are some nice scares and they do a good job of keeping you off balance about who will live and who will die.  The monsters in this film are a bit less lethargic than there zombie counterparts, which sets up a slightly different kind of fear.  But, they do tend to pop out and shriek a lot, so you won't find yourself pining for the zombies very long.

The film was shot on video, which may be it's weakest point (for horror fans).  The picture is sometimes grainy and the quality of the picture sometimes became distracting.  It also appeared to have been shot in 4 x 3, instead of 16 x 9, which was kind of unusual.  The camera work in this film was top notch, unlike Blair Witch, which gave some viewers motion sickness and they had to leave the theater (wussies). 

This was not a big budget film, so there aren't tons of explosions (there are a few), heaps of dismembered bodies (there are a few), or gigabytes of digital effects (there is at least one).  The film is successful because of the mood it sets, which is isolated and scary. 

The acting is great as well.  Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brenden Gleeson, and Megan Burns all turn out convincing performances, as does everyone else in the cast.  Ever heard of them?  Well, that's okay, neither had the Masked Reviewer.  They're all British.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

There isn't a lot of humor in this film, as there was in Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy or Dead Alive.  Even in Living Dead films, there's much more situational humor than in 28 Days Later.  But, it doesn't need it.  It sustains its high level of suspense and anxiety, creating an intense experience.

Many people may not like this type of horror film.  It's not a slasher movie, it's a straight-up zombie movie, like Zombie.  They, like the Energizer Bunny, keep coming and coming and coming.  There's nothing new or groundbreaking in what Boyle does in this film, but he does it well.  Especially for a low budget film shot on video.  But much like many action movies share the same thematic...uh...themes...this movie sets itself from many of the other zombie films by virtue of its quality.  That's not as deep as it was intended to sound. 

The point is, may people will see this as a dumb waste of time, just another Living Dead film.  In some ways it is.  But for fans of that genre, this is a very nice addition.  If you know nothing about zombie movies but you like horror and action films, this is worth checking out.  If you don't like horror or action films, you may want to pass on it.  And if you're easily frightened...stay away.  Lock the doors.  They'll come for you soon anyway.

Expectation from the Title: The end is near for a man as his girlfriend's next PMS cycle is about to begin.  "Put that toilet seat down!!"

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Many of the zombies look too skinny.  They should eat more.

The Pros: Stylish, well acted, scary.  Cool.

The Cons: To some, the lack of humor will be missed, but it isn't needed.




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